Once Barcelona loanee Abel Ruiz had rattled home Braga’s second goal of the night on the hour mark, it looked for all the world that Steven Gerrard’s already out-of-sorts side were heading out of the competition with a whimper.
But then the Ianis Hagi show began.
In the space of just 18 second-half minutes, the Romanian wonder-kid sparked a stunning comeback with a display that even his legendary father would have been proud of. Hagi’s two goals, either side of a superb solo effort from Joe Aribo, means the Gers have the most unexpected of leads to protect in Portugal next week.
And Fransergio, who opened the scoring at Ibrox with an outrageous 30-yard screamer, admitted that Braga were ill-prepared to deal with an aggressive, ravenous Rangers side in the final half hour.
“We didn't expect it. They were aggressive and in the middle of the rush, they managed to make the challenges that we didn't,” Fransergio said.
“We could have done the third goal, but we couldn't get it. Now, we have to thank our fans and give them victory at home.”
Stirring comeback or not, Gerrard will be fully aware that Rangers cannot afford to produce another error-strewn defensive display if they want to reach the round-of-16.
Hagi was the hero but, without 38-year-old goalkeeper Allan McGregor, this tie would be over already.
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