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Rangers vs Braga: UEFA Europa League background, form guide, previous meetings

Rangers' long unbeaten record against Portuguese clubs ended at Braga as the Scottish champions seek to reach their first European semi-final in 14 years.

Braga lead 1-0 after the first leg
Braga lead 1-0 after the first leg AFP via Getty Images

Rangers' long unbeaten record against Portuguese clubs ended in the first leg of this UEFA Europa League quarter-final against Braga, so the Scottish champions must return to winning ways at Ibrox if they are to reach their first European semi-final in 14 years.

• Rangers clinched a UEFA Europa League knockout phase berth with a game to spare, finishing runners-up to Lyon in Group A with eight points, before overcoming Borussia Dortmund 6-4 on aggregate in the knockout round play-offs (4-2 a, 2-2 h) and Crvena zvezda 4-2 over the two legs in the round of 16 (3-0 h, 1-2 a).

• Braga also finished runners-up in their group during the autumn, completing a hat-trick of UEFA Europa League group stage qualifications by picking up ten points in Group F to finish second behind Crvena zvezda. They then overcame Moldovan champions Sheriff 3-2 on penalties in February after both teams had won their home leg 2-0 before coming out on top in the round of 16 against Group B winners Monaco (2-0 h, 1-1 a).

Rangers vs Braga: the latest from the match

Previous meetings
• Braga's Spanish forward Abel Ruiz found the net for the third successive UEFA Europa League game to give his team a 1-0 win over Rangers at the Estádio Municipal on 7 April. The Portuguese side were the only quarter-final first-leg winners, the other three games having all finished 1-1.

• This is the only one of the four UEFA Europa League quarter-final ties in which the teams have previously met, Braga and Rangers having been paired together once before, in the 2019/20 round of 32. The Scottish side prevailed in both matches, coming from behind to win 3-2 in Glasgow before a Ryan Kent goal in northern Portugal was enough to bring them a 1-0 win that secured their further progress.

• Rangers were unbeaten in 13 successive UEFA matches against Portuguese opposition before the first leg (W6 D7), drawing twice against Benfica (3-3 a, 2-2 h) in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage. They have never lost at home to visitors from Portugal (W7 D3), although the three draws have come in the last five matches. The Glasgow giants have lost only one of their seven previous two-legged UEFA ties against Portuguese teams, winning the last five.

• Braga have lost all three previous UEFA fixtures in Scotland, also going down to Hearts (1-3 in the first round of the 2004/05 UEFA Cup) and Celtic (1-2 in the third qualifying round of the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League), though they won the latter tie – their only success in three two-legged contests with Scottish clubs.

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Form guide

• Undefeated champions of Scotland in 2020/21 as they claimed a record-extending 55th domestic league title, Rangers also played 13 matches in the UEFA Europa League, progressing from the second qualifying round to the round of 16, where their run was ended by Slavia Praha (1-1 a, 0-2 h).

• Rangers returned to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in a decade this term, but they lost both third qualifying round legs 2-1 to Malmö and therefore transferred to the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they edged Alashkert to reach the group stage for the fourth successive season. Although they lost their opening two group games – against Lyon (0-2 h) and Sparta Praha (0-1 a) – they remained unbeaten thereafter, taking four points off Brøndby (2-0 h, 1-1 a) and clinching second place with a 2-0 victory over Sparta at Ibrox on Matchday 5 in their first match under new manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who had replaced Steven Gerrard.

• This is Rangers' first appearance in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, the victory over Crvena zvezda having come after three previous round of 16 failures. In UEFA competition overall this is the Glasgow club's tenth quarter-final, with five aggregate victories in the previous nine, the latest in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup when they overcame Portuguese opposition in the form of Sporting CP, drawing 0-0 at Ibrox before winning 2-0 in Lisbon.

• Rangers have lost just five of their last 32 European home matches (W20 D7), although three of those defeats have come in the last eight – against Slavia, Malmö and Lyon. In the UEFA Europa League knockout phase their record at Ibrox is W3 D2 L3, their three eliminations all triggered by those home defeats.

• Rangers have lost 21 of the 26 UEFA ties in which they were defeated on the road in the first leg, the latest instance occurring in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round against Malmö. Three of their aggregate successes, however, have come in the five ties when they lost the first away leg 1-0, most recently by virtue of a penalty shoot-out success against Portuguese club Marítimo in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup first round following a second-leg 1-0 win in Glasgow. That first-leg loss against Marítimo was the last time Rangers were defeated by Portuguese opposition until the first leg of this tie.

• Braga's 2021/22 UEFA Europa League group stage berth, and the club's 17th European qualification in the last 18 years, was achieved on two fronts – with a fourth-placed finish in the Portuguese Liga and a third Portuguese Cup triumph, which they secured with a 2-0 victory over Benfica in the final. Carlos Carvalhal's side also reached last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32, where they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Roma.

• Runners-up to Leicester City in last season's group stage, Braga also had to settle for second place this term, a 1-1 home draw against Crvena zvezda on Matchday 6 leaving them as runners-up in Group F behind the Serbian champions, who had defeated them 2-1 in Belgrade on Matchday 1. Six of Braga's ten points came at the expense of Ludogorets (1-0 a, 4-2), while they took three off Midtjylland (3-1 h, 2-3 a) to finish one ahead of the Danish side.

• The wins against Sheriff and Monaco brought Braga into the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the third time. Winners on away goals against domestic rivals Benfica in 2010/11 (1-2 a, 1-0 h), they lost both games to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2015/16 (1-2 h, 0-4 a). Those are the Portuguese club's only two previous quarter-finals in any European competition.

• Braga have lost five of their last eight away games in the UEFA Europa League, the draw at Monaco last time out their first on the road in the competition proper in 15 matches (W6 L8). Their all-time away record in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase is W2 D3 L8, the 1-1 draw at the Stade Louis II ending a run of six straight defeats in which they had conceded 16 goals.

• Braga have won all 12 previous UEFA ties in which they travelled to the second away leg holding a lead, maintaining that flawless record against Monaco last month in the round of 16. Indeed, in all 12 cases they have kept a clean sheet in the home leg, including five 1-0 successes, the most recent of which was against Spartak Moskva in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League qualifying play-offs (2-1 a).

Links and trivia
• Braga are the only one of this season's eight UEFA Europa League quarter-finalists to have reached the final of the competition – in 2010/11.

• Rangers are the first Scottish club to appear in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, making Scotland the 17th country represented at this stage of the competition.

• This is Rangers' 16th European encounter of the season – the most of any of the UEFA Europa League quarter-finalists. They are the only team among the last eight whose 2021/22 European campaign began in the qualifying phase.

• In appearing for Braga in the first leg of the knockout round play-off against Sheriff, Roger Fernandes became, at the age of 16 years 88 days, the youngest ever UEFA Europa League participant, group stage to final.

• Rangers and Braga are the only two group runners-up to have reached this season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

• Braga are one of two current domestic cup winners in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, along with Barcelona.

• Both teams recorded domestic league victories at the weekend, Rangers winning 4-0 at Saint Mirren thanks to striker Kemar Roofe's first hat-trick for the club and Braga making it four successive wins in all competitions with a 1-0 success at Vizela despite playing the entire second half with ten men.

• The winners of this tie will face Leipzig or Atalanta in the semi-final.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Rangers' record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W3 L1:
1-3 v Borussia Dortmund, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup third round
4-3 v Paris Saint-Germain, 2001/02 UEFA Cup third round
4-2 v Marítimo, 2004/05 UEFA Cup first round
4-2 v Fiorentina, 2007/08 UEFA Cup semi-final

• Braga's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L0:
5-4 v Udinese, 2012/13 UEFA Champions League play-off
3-2 v Sheriff Tiraspol, 2021/22 UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off

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