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Europa League draw: Rangers to face Braga in quarter-final

© Luke Nickerson/ShutterstockConnor Goldson celebrates after Ryan Kent's goal in Serbia
Connor Goldson celebrates after Ryan Kent's goal in Serbia

Rangers have been drawn against Braga in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The Ibrox side secured their place in the next round on Thursday night despite defeat in Serbia, progressing with a 4-2 aggregate win over Red Star Belgrade.

They’ll now face the side they knocked out in the competition’s round of 32 in 2020, with the first leg away in Portugal on April 7 and the second leg at Ibrox on April 14.

The team that progresses to the semi-final will face the winners of RB Leipzig v Atalanta.

On the other side of the draw, West Ham were paired with Lyon and Eintracht Frankfurt will face Barcelona.

Rangers belief growing

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst declared their Europa League belief was growing after knocking out Red Star Belgrade to seal a quarter-final place.

Gers lost 2-1 in Serbia but the home team only got their second goal from a stoppage-time penalty after Ryan Kent’s 56th-minute equaliser had proved the key moment of the second leg.

“I’m very proud,” Van Bronckhorst told BT Sport. “It’s a great achievement to reach the last eight.

“The belief is only getting stronger. We take it round by round and there are some big names left in the draw.

“But again it’s two big games to develop ourselves as a team and to go one stage further will be the goal, but the opponent will be stronger each round we go.

“We have had some good results, especially the result in the last round against Dortmund, that’s a result which the whole of Europe thinks about. It was an amazing accomplishment for us.

“Red Star, it’s very complicated to come here, but we had a good foundation with the 3-0 win last week and we played very well here and concentrated.”

Mirko Ivanic gave Red Star hope when he netted following a 10th-minute corner and Allan McGregor made several excellent stops before Kent scored via a deflection following a one-two with Glen Kamara near the halfway line.

“We said before the game we knew it was going to be difficult,” Van Bronckhorst said.

“I think we started really well. They weren’t in the game but one set-piece gave them the belief. When you score early, it always gives you belief.

“The second half we scored at the right time, they were pushing us really hard for a second. But at 1-1 you saw the belief for them getting weaker. We could have scored a second as well.

“We defended really well second half, we didn’t give any space. They were looking for the ball behind the defence all the time so we pushed Calvin (Bassey) inside to play three against two and let Ryan mark his full-back. I think that went really well second half.”

The Dutchman praised his former team-mate, McGregor, who showed his ability over both legs after some had questioned the 40-year-old’s position as number one following some costly mistakes in domestic games.

“At moments he needs to be there, he is there, and had some good saves again,” the Rangers boss said.

“I’m really happy with his performance and what he gives the team, even at his age he is still important for us.

“I am more than happy for him and every player because we gave everything to make the club proud.”