Rangers lose 1-0 to Braga in Europa League quarter-final first leg

The Scottish champions trail by a single goal at half time in the tie.

Rangers lose 1-0 to Braga in Europa League quarter-final first leg SNS Group

Rangers have been beaten 1-0 by Braga in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.

Abel Ruiz scored the only goal of the game in Portugal, finding the net just before half time in a tight game between the sides.

Rangers will now have to win at Ibrox if they are to progress to meet RB Leipzig or Atalanta in the semi-finals of the competition.

The Scottish champions had travelled to Portugal with confidence high after notable wins in the competition, and having won against the same opposition two years ago.

The team started well, showing real purpose in attack with Ryan Kent finding space on the left and Fashion Sakala’s pace testing the Braga back line. After the winger had raced on to a through ball that was blocked by Braga goalkeeper Matheus, the striker had the first serious shot of the game blocked.

The hosts grew into the match, enjoying possession and putting together probing attacks and testing Rangers back line. Ricardo Horta, identified as a danger man after a successful season so far, served notice of the teams intent when he beat Allan McGregor with a low shot that hit the post after 25 minutes.

Soon afterwards, VAR was required to keep the sides level. Andre Horta saw his shot deflected into the back of the net but a video review picked up Fabiano’s foul on Ryan Jack in the build-up and ruled out the strike.

Sakala then shot over the bar when presented with a good opportunity but Braga looked the more dangerous side and they got their goal before half-time. Ruiz collected a ball from Iuri Medeiros and his early shot was well placed and past McGregor to give his side the lead.

The second half brought few chances for either side, with both making changes to try and change the balance of the game but Rangers were finding it hard to carve out an opening for an equaliser.

Connor Goldson rose to meet a James Tavernier corner but couldn’t get his header on target in the best chance of the second half, while McGregor was called upon to block a shot from distance from Andre Horta but the scoreline remained at 1-0 until the final whistle.

Rangers will take encouragement from home advantage in next week’s second leg but will need to find a cutting edge if their European journey is to continue.

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