'We have to be just like Rangers' - how Braga plan to upset Ibrox crowd

Abel Ruiz believes Braga can emerge triumphant at Ibrox at the second time of asking when they tackle Rangers on Thursday night.

The 22-year-old Spain international made his debut for the Portuguese club at Ibrox in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie in February 2020.

The former Barcelona striker scored the second goal to put the visitors 2-0 up with only about half an hour to go, before the Light Blues came roaring back to win 3-2 and ultimately go through to the next round.

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Ruiz scored the only goal of the game against Gers in their Europa League quarter-final clash last week in Portugal to give Braga the advantage for the return game in Glasgow and this time he is confident of progression to the semi-final where they would meet either Atalanta or RB Leipzig, who are tied 1-1 from the first leg.

Striker Abel Ruiz insists Braga are confident ahead of facing Rangers at Ibrox for a place in the Europa League semi-finals. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Speaking through an interpreter at Ibrox, Ruiz said: "The players that were involved here two years ago have some experience of what the atmosphere is like here.

"We were winning 2-0 but Rangers are a team that believes until the end and in that game they came back and managed to win the game and we didn't progress into the next round.

"We have confidence because we did win in Braga and we did the same at the weekend (against Vizela).

"We are aware that it will be a quite tough game. Rangers have excellent players but we will start the game with good momentum and believe that we can take a good result from this game.

"We are aware that Rangers will try everything so we will be likewise, like we did in Braga.

"We always try to score from the beginning in games and that is what we will try to do tomorrow.

"Rangers fans will support the team from the first minute.

"We must have a plan in mind, as I said before some of the players will have the experience from two seasons ago.

"Rangers are a team that will fight to the very end and we have to be just like Rangers."

Braga reached the final of the Europa League in 2011 only to lose to 1-0 to fellow Primeira Liga side Porto in Dublin and Ruiz hopes to take the next step towards another showpiece occasion.

He said: "I was 11 years old at that final, I don't have many memories.

"However, I know the history of the club and I know we have the possibility to make history for this club and this is what we will try to do tomorrow. We have the will for tomorrow."

Boss Carlos Carvalhal insists his side are not in Glasgow to simply defend their lead at a packed Ibrox.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea manager said: "My plan is unchanged. Recently, we've won away versus Sporting, against Benfica, against Porto, which are all Champions League clubs.

"The crowd was massive there. Of course we didn't play for a draw against these big teams.

"We did respect the opponents and were aware they were stronger. But we have to win tomorrow night, otherwise we'll have won all these games in Europe for nothing.

"We're coming up against an excellent team and an excellent manager, a wonderful club. But Braga tries to win every match and tomorrow won't be an exception."

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