By Martin Graham | 18th Mar 2022
Rangers have failed to reach the quarter finals of any European competition in the past 14 years and have now squeezed their way through following their 4-2 aggregate defeat of Crvena Zvezda.
Prior to kick-off, only one team in Europa League history – Valencia against Basel – had overturned a deficit of three or more in the first leg of a knockout tie – and Rangers were in no mood to be the second victim.
The Serbian club put up a spirited fight to try and take something from the tie to become only the second club in Europa League history to overturn a three-goal deficit.
But a Ryan Kent goal in the 56th minute gave the Gers the safety they needed.
The game started with Crvena Zvezda on the front foot and in the 10th minute, Mirko Ivanic drilled in an early opener to give the Serbian champions hope.
Rangers continued to bear the brunt of the Serbian club’s attacks but their goalkeeper was in his element on Thursday night. He marked his 99th European appearance for Rangers and was arguably their man of the match.
The 56th minute saw Crvena Zvezda’s belief take a hit after Glen Kamara’s through pass found Ryan Kent to place one past Milan Borjan in the Zvezda net.
A 93rd minute penalty saw the Serbian club save face before their fans, as they ran out 2-1 winners on the night.
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst told BT Sport after the game: “I’m very proud – it’s a great achievement to reach the last eight. We knew it would be difficult. Our belief is only getting stronger.
“There are big teams left in the draw. The opponent will be stronger with each round. The result against Dortmund is one that the whole of Europe thinks is a great achievement.”
UEFA will carry out both the quarter-final and semi-final draw on Friday, 18 March at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.