Aribo inspires Rangers to victory over Sporting Braga

After brushing aside Portuguese opposition on Thursday, the Gers are two games away from the final of the continent’s second-tier club competition.

Aribo inspires Rangers to victory over Sporting Braga
Aribo inspires Rangers to victory over Sporting Braga

After brushing aside Portuguese opposition on Thursday, the Gers are two games away from the final of the continent’s second-tier club competition.

Rangers battled to a thrilling 3-2 aggregate triumph over Sporting Braga to clinch a spot in the Europa League semifinals. Joe Aribo delivered two key assists, while Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun also contributed.

Last week, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were defeated 1-0 in Portugal, but they came back to win 3-1 at home after extra time to reach their first European semifinal in 14 years.

Rangers got off to a great start at Ibrox, thanks to Joe Aribo. The Super Eagles midfielder displayed excellent vision to send a pinpoint pass to James Tavernier, who displayed superb calm inside the box to bury the ball in the bottom right corner.

Kemar Roofe headed in a second goal for the home side just as the Light Blues fans were finishing their celebrations, but it was ruled out for a handball after a VAR review.

Tavernier added a second for the hosts from the penalty spot soon before halftime, with Tormena’s dismissal reducing the visitors to 10 men.

Soon after the restart, Aribo should have added a third goal, but his rocket of a shot sailed just wide of the left post after he had raced through the middle to the edge of the box.

Rangers had many chances to end the tie, including a goal by Roofe that was deemed offside, but they were unable to capitalize. And they would come to regret all of their missed opportunities, as a David Carmo header in the 88th minute halved Braga’s deficit on the night and brought them level on aggregate.

Calvin Bassey was a rock for the Gers up until that time. Nonetheless, Giovanni van Bronckhorst did not waste any time in replacing Borna Borisic with Leon Balogun to shore up the defense.

However, no further goals were scored before the referee indicated the end of normal time.

Rangers went ahead 3-1 in extra time thanks to Aribo’s skill, as the former Charlton Athletic man laid the ball on a dish for Kemar Roof to score with a simple close-range finish midway through the first half.

And the night went even better for the Gers when Braga was reduced to nine men as Iuri Medeiros was given a second yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct.

However, Braga were unable to produce any late drama as Rangers advanced to the Europa League semifinals.

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