How the Rangers players rated against Braga: Midfielder earns top marks but one big flop for Scottish champions in Portugal


Rangers must overturn a 1-0 deficit in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie at Ibrox next week after Abel Ruiz scored the only goal of the game for Braga in Portugal on Thursday night. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

allan mcgregor – On his 100th European appearance for Rangers, the veteran goalkeeper had no chance of stopping Abel Ruiz’s superbly finished winner for Braga.

Didn’t have too much to do otherwise, despite the spells that his team spent on the back foot, but made a crucial late save to deny Andre Horta a second for the hosts. 6

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James Tavernier – The Rangers captain was unable to influence the game as much as he normally can from an attacking perspective as he spent much of his night keeping tabs on Braga’s dangerous teenage winger Rodridgo Gomes. Even from set pieces, the right-back failed to meet his optimum standards. 5

Connor Goldson -The big defender looked less than assured in the first half but was far more solid after the break. He could have grabbed an equalizer for Rangers but was just too deliberate with a free header he guided wide of the target. 5

Leon Balogun – Slow to react to the cross which led to Braga’s goal, merely directing the ball into the path of scorer Abel Ruiz. The Nigerian international never looked comfortable and was replaced by Borna Barisic in the 62nd minute. 4

Calvin Bassey – The left-back had to curb his attacking instincts in order to try and contain the threat posed by Braga’s impressive on-loan Manchester City right-back Yan Couto. But Bassey continues to grow in stature as a Rangers player and the 22-year-old improved steadily after a shaky start. He moved inside to a central defensive position for the last half hour. 6

Ryan Jack – A tough shift for the Scotland midfielder who took a painful blow when he picked up a booking for a foul on Al Musrati. Although he set up one great chance which Fashion Sakala missed, Jack never really got up to speed and was replaced by Joe Aribo in the 62nd minute. 5

John Lundstram – While he was occasionally guilty of choosing the wrong pass in the attacking third of the pitch, Lundstram was by some distance Rangers’ most effective midfield performer. He offered invaulable cover for the defense which he dropped into for the closing stages as van Bronckhorst switched formation. 7

glen kamara – The Finnish international has enjoyed many fine nights on the European stage for Rangers but this wasn’t one of them. He gave the ball away cheaply far too often, not a charge which can usually be leveled against him, and struggled to influence the game in Braga’s half of the pitch. 5

Scott Arfield – Presumably picked ahead of Aaron Ramsey for his greater energy and willingness to cover the ground, Arfield started brightly but was never really able to impose himself in the final third of the pitch. A tireless but ultimately frustrating shift for the 33-year-old. 5

Fashion Sakala – A wretched night for the Zambian international who looked like a fish out of water in the central striking role. His hold-up and link-up play from him was nowhere near good enough and he lacked the positional awareness to make his pace count against a sluggish Braga defense. He blazed his best chance wildly over and was replaced by Kemar Roofe in the 62nd minute. 3

Ryan Kent – The winger carried the most attacking menace throughout for Rangers, forcing an early save from Braga goalkeeper Matheus and always trying to get his team higher up the pitch. He did n’t get as much service as he would have liked but he was also defensively diligent in tracking back to match the runs of Braga right-back Couto. 6

Borna Barisic – The Croatian international was deployed at left wing-back in a change of shape for Rangers when he replaced Leon Balogun. He solid defensively and tried to get forward as much as possible in the closing stages. 5

Joe Aribo – Gave Rangers more attacking impetus in the final half hour after replacing Ryan Jack, causing some uncomfortable moments for the tiring Braga defense. 5

Kemar Roofe – It was a surprise that the Jamaican international striker had to wait until the 62nd minute to replace Sakala. He immediately gave Rangers a focal point in attack but was unable to snap up the half chances which came his way as they pushed for an equaliser. 5

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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