Giovanni van Bronckhorst was dealt a major blow in the Scottish Premiership title race on Sunday as his Rangers side came up short in the Old Firm at Ibrox, surrendering a 1-0 lead to arch-rivals Celtic, so he will now be looking for an immediate response from his players when they travel to Braga later this week.
Despite the Gers all but surrendering their domestic crown to bitter Glaswegian adversaries Celtic, they remain very much competitive in Europe. Van Bronckhorst masterminded that famous 6-4 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund in the knockout play-offs and followed up by eliminating Red Star Belgrade.
Next up for the Dutch tactician is an exceptionally tough double-header against a Braga side currently riding the crest of a wave. Carlos Carvalhal’s Archbishops enter this showdown at the Estadio Municipal de Braga having recently knocked Monaco out of the competition and defeated Benfica in the league.
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Braga vs Rangers: Match Stats
Braga will fancy their chances here, particularly as they have been defeated only twice across their last 18 home matches in Europe (11 wins, five draws). However, the first of those two losses came against Rangers in February 2020, with Ryan Kent scoring the game’s only goal. The former Liverpool midfielder will be desperate to deliver a similar crushing blow to the Portuguese outfit here.
Galeno has played like a man possessed for Braga in the Europa League this season. The Brazilian currently leads the club with six goals, which is the joint most in the competition. However, he is no longer at the club, having joined Porto in January, so Carvalhal will likely be turning to Ricardo Horta to get the job done, with the one-capped Portugal international their second-highest scorer with four goals.
As mentioned, Rangers sealed that 1-0 away win two years ago on the hour mark through Kent, making it 4-2 on aggregate as they won their home match 3-2 in the first leg a week prior. Steven Gerrard’s men got the job done through Joe Aribo, either side of an Ianis Hagi brace.