Glasgow, February 21: Rangers superbly came from behind to win 3-2 at home against Braga in the first leg of their last-32 tie after Fransergio scored a contender for the best goal of this season’s Europa League. Fransergio and Abel Ruiz struck either side of half-time to put the Portuguese side, who were unbeaten in 13 European matches, in complete control at Ibrox on Thursday (February 20). But Ianis Hagi got one back for Steven Gerrard’s side and, with 15 minutes to go, Joe Aribo danced through the Braga defence to slot home and level it up.
Hagi’s free-kick then deflected off the wall to wrongfoot goalkeeper Matheus and complete an improbable comeback in front of a raucous crowd in Glasgow. Braga started brilliantly, with Wallace missing a header from three yards and Francisco Trincao – who will join Barcelona in July for €31million – rifling just wide. Fransergio then stunned the home fans with a beauty from over 30 yards out, his rocket of a strike clipping the underside of the crossbar to open the scoring in the 11th minute. Matheus denied the competition’s top scorer Alfredo Morelos twice in quick succession, but Trincao was running the show and he almost made it 2-0, a cute curling effort not quite bending enough.
Fransergio almost repeated his wondergoal after the interval, but this time his effort hit the top of the crossbar, with livewire Morelos then denied by a goal-line clearance from the alert Bruno Viana. Debutant Ruiz, who joined from Barcelona last month, doubled Braga’s lead with an excellent finish, but Hagi reduced the deficit with a left-footed strike from just inside the box that went in off the post. The quality did not let up as Aribo equalised with a superb solo effort and, though Braga have a brace of away goals to take into next week’s return leg, momentum is with Rangers after Hagi’s fortuitous set-piece wrapped up the scoring.