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After impressive results for both Braga and Rangers in the Round of 16 in the Europa League, the two sides now meet looking to book a place in the semi-finals of the competition.
It’s been quite the European journey thus far for the Scottish giants, sealing second place in Group A behind Lyon before eliminating Dortmund and Crvena Zvezda in the last two rounds.
Equally for Braga, they will have been delighted after sending Monaco crashing out in the previous round, and so both sides will be full of confidence and desperate to extend this European run even further.
However, they’ll both come into the first leg off the back of big games at the weekend with Rangers having to recover and go again after facing bitter rivals Celtic in the Scottish Premiership biggest derby game, while Braga got the better of Benfica as they sit comfortable in fourth place in the Primeira Liga.
Continue reading for our expert football betting tips for the clash.
Rangers will believe in their ability to get the better of Braga at home, and so this could be a cagey first leg where they sit back and try to frustrate the hosts.
They have a threat on the counter-attack which could even give them more than they hoped to return home with, but there is quality in this Braga side to make it difficult for them too.
Goals could be at a premium in this clash, and so a low-scoring draw could be the smart option, with a narrow win either side the next best market.
Braga come into this game off the back of a big win following the international break, while that made it back-to-back wins and just one defeat in their last five league outings.
In terms of their Europa League form, they picked up an important 2-0 win at home against Monaco in the last round, matching the result in the round before that as they eventually eliminated Sheriff on penalties, and so they’ll be a difficult side to face on home soil.
Ricardo Horta will be a big threat for them having scored four goals and provided four assists in 10 games thus far, and as they’ve shown in this run to date, they have a group of players more than capable of producing on this stage.
That said, they do have their limitations and as we go deeper into the competition, they’ll have to step up another level to deal with the opposition, and particularly against Rangers, they’ll want to take an advantage with them to protect at Ibrox.
After a strong finish to the group stage which saw them go unbeaten in their final four games, Rangers produced a stunning performance away at Dortmund before holding out at home to advance.
Conversely, they blew Crvena Zvezda away at Ibrox before getting a result they needed on the road to progress again, and so Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side have shown that they can produce on the big occasions.
James Tavernier has been their star man in Europe with four goals and two assists in nine games, while Alfredo Morelos has bagged four goals too.
The Scottish giants have quality across their squad and given the confidence that they’ve built up over the course of their Europa League run to date, they will be a dangerous side to face.
These two sides met in the Europa League in 2020, with Rangers winning both home and away.
It was a thriller at Ibrox in which they prevailed 3-2, while they battled to a closely-fought 1-0 win at Braga, and given it was relatively recently, it gives an indication as to how that could shape this latest battle.
Rangers will take confidence from that, but time will tell if they can produce a double repeat performance and advance to the next stage.
The Braga Municipal Stadium has a capacity of just over 30,000, and beyond its picturesque backdrop, it also makes for a lively stadium especially on a European night.
There is a real opportunity for the Portuguese outfit to make club history this year as they will fancy themselves to keep this European run going, and so they’ll be eager for their fans to give their full backing and make this as uncomfortable for Rangers as possible.
They were unbeaten at home in the group stage and have won both their home games in the knockout stage, and so Rangers will have their hands full on the road.
That strong home form for Braga is hard to ignore and so they will go into this first leg as favourites.
However, Rangers will be buoyed by their ability to get results on the road in Europe this year, and they’ll be confident of getting something to take back to Ibrox.
For the visitors, they could set up defensively and look to snatch something, and so it could make this a cagey and close affair that will leave the tie evenly poised with the two sides level going into the second leg.