Kemar Roofe’s dramatic goal in extra time propelled Rangers into the Europa League semi-finals with a stunning 3-2 aggregate win over Braga in Ibrox, with the visitors finishing with nine men.
After going 1-0 in the first leg of last week’s quarter-finals in Portugal, Gers captain James Tavernier equalized after just over a minute and Roofe soon had the ball in the net only VAR could shut it out.
Roofe hit the bar before Braga defender Vitor Tormena was sent off in the 42nd minute for denying the Gers striker a chance to score and Tavernier missed the resulting penalty.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side should have ended the tie in the second half but were stunned in the 83rd minute when David Carmo scored to make it 2-2 and took it into overtime where Roofe had earlier in the 101st minute scored to score Substitute Iuri Medeiros was also sent home.
There was both relief and joy at the end of the 120 minutes, but nonetheless it is the Light Blues’ first European semi-final in 14 years and they meet RB Leipzig after the German side beat Atalanta 3-1.
It was one of the most remarkable European nights Ibrox had witnessed.
Braga coach Carlos Carvalhal had promised to attack in Glasgow but his side barely had time to catch their breath before finding themselves falling behind and equalizing.
Left-back Borna Barisic took a pass from Ryan Kent and his cross from the left was flicked by midfielder Joe Aribo for the ever-alert Tavernier batsman Matheus with an angled shot from close range at the back post.
Ibrox was upset again less than three minutes later when Barisic headed in at Roofe from the left, but French referee Francois Letexier checked VAR and ruled it out over an earlier handball by the Gers defender.
Things got more dramatic in the 32nd minute when Tavernier’s corner was headed in by Aribo from the right and Roofe hit the bar from just a few yards out, but just before the break the home side doubled their deserved lead.
Calvin Bassey’s raking pass sent Roofe running away from an open Braga rearguard and Tormena, being backtracked, took him to the ground. Referee Letexier pointed to the point, sent off the Braga defender and Tavernier sent the penalty.
It all worked out for Rangers and the home side created and missed a number of chances.
Defender Connor Goldson hit the outside of the post with a shot in the 63rd minute, but the offside flag was high before Aaron Ramsey headed a Barisic cross over the bar.
Roofe had the ball in with a superb lob over Matheus in the 69th minute, but the offside flag was up again.
The ball crossed the Braga line again when Ramsey collided with Matheus, but this time a foul on the goalkeeper resulted.
Ryan Jack and Ramsey were replaced by Scott Wright and Glen Kamara before Braga dramatically pulled back a goal to level the tie when Carmo spotted a header from Medeiros’ corner.
Then came 30 minutes of stoppage time as Braga regained his strength and sniffing penalties could be an option, but that changed when Roofe converted an Aribo cutback and there was more Ibrox cheering as Medeiros fired Placed after receiving two yellow cards, the first for a foul on Barisic substitute Leon Balogun, the second for dissent with the referee.
Gers substitute Scott Arfield missed two glorious chances in the second half of extra time to ease the pressure on the Govan side but ultimately it proved not costly.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/other-soccer/kemar-roofe-fires-rangers-into-europa-league-semis-with-extra-time-winner-over-nine-man-braga-41555489.html Kemar Roofe blasts Rangers into Europa League semifinals with overtime winners over nine-man Braga