Global media react as Rangers hit Braga ‘cyclone’ but Gio van Bronckhorst’s lack of audacity raises eyebrows
It wasn’t the result Rangers wanted but it’s only half time in their quest to reach the Europa League semi-finals.
Abel Ruiz’s emphatic finish put Braga ahead after 90 minutes as he struck in the middle of a strong spell for Carlos Carvalhal’s side before the break.
Rangers’ participation at this stage of continental action puts them on the media radar across Europe and beyond as they dream of equaling the heroes of 2008 by reaching the final.
But Gio van Bronckhorst’s approach drew mixed reviews after the game.
Everything remains to be played with this delicately posed meeting which will be decided in front of 50,000 supporters at Ibrox.
Save sport takes a look at what has been said about the crucial Europa League clash staged at Portugal’s most unique stadium.
Abola’s live blog has nailed their colors firmly to the mast and they see no season why the Portuguese team can’t find their way to the goal at Ibrox.
“The game in Scotland will be difficult. Braga are lucky that their top scorer (Morelos) is not playing. But if he plays with the confidence he played against Monaco, I think Braga will score twice. Vas- y Braga!”
Braga’s stadium looks perfect for shelter from the storm, but Spain’s leading publication noted that Rangers were rocked by a blitz before the break.
And they credited Ruiz with finding the net after Horta was denied by the post earlier in the half.
“Carlos Carvalhal’s side started in a ‘cyclonic’ plan. Ricardo Horta, ex-Málaga, rattled McGregor’s post in the 25th minute.
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“A minute later it could have been 1-0. In fact, it happened… but it’s cancelled. André Horta fired a shot from the edge of the box and Tavernier deflected it into the net. Fabiano Silva’s earlier foul on Ryan Jack.
“The man tasked with signing Braga dominance was Abel Ruiz in the 40th minute. The former Valencia and Barcelona player picked up a pass from Iuri Medeiros that failed to clear the Rangers defense to beat McGregor with an aimed shot to go into the post.”
Neil Diamond became the go-to for singing at major sporting events and Rangers fans enjoyed a song at the end of their disappointing first leg.
Portuguese outlet Record noted that it was well received as the important travel support headed for the releases with a rousing rendition.
‘Sweet Caroline’, hit by American singer Neil Diamond, was the theme chosen over the speakers of the Estádio Municipal de Braga to end the European duel between Braga and Rangers. In the end, everyone thanked the choice, especially the Scottish fans.
O Jogo (Portugal)
Nobody puts Braga in the semi-finals but an outlet believe the result is likely to be decisive when the team meet again next week.
“Braga beat Rangers at Pedreira (1-0), thanks to a solitary goal from Abel Ruiz, aged 40, and takes a slim but valuable advantage ahead of Glasgow.”
The Guardian live blog thought the rock face behind the goal would have been a challenge for one of Arsenal’s stars to get it wrong.
Peter Oh wrote: “Re: the rock face at one end of the Braga pitch. I would love to see Granit Xhaka play on this pitch, blotting a crushing shot well over the crossbar, with the ball bursting from impact with the steep cliff.
Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
The result resonated in Cyprus with their match report concluding at the right time to claim victory.
“The Portuguese were rewarded for their dominance five minutes before the break when Abel Ruiz found the net with a powerful shot.”
News Minuto (Portugal)
Minuto had expected a spirited siege from Rangers on Braga’s goal, but they expressed surprise that the visitors seemed to walk away after some early signs of optimism.
They noted the victory was revenge for the loss in the last 32 stages against Steven Gerrard’s side in 2020.
“A bold Rangers was expected in this game, even to be the Scottish champions, but the opposite happened. After 25 minutes of high pressure, the British lost the initiative to Minho, who would score first by André Horta, who had the goal disallowed, and then by Abel Ruiz.
“In losing, it was expected that the Scots would go for a more attacking game in search of the equaliser, which would open up spaces for Sporting de Braga to try to make the second of the game, but Rangers were sent into the defensive zone, ending the match without a shot on goal from Matheus.
The concern was to nullify the attacking Minho players and hold this short disadvantage so that they could, in time, ‘avenge’ the loss of the match in their stronghold.
“What remains for history is that Sporting de Braga are one step away from reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League for the second time in their history, having already performed in 2010/11. It should also be noted that the Minho ‘avenged’ the 2020 loss to Rangers, achieving the same result as over two years ago.”