Five previous occasions that suggest Rangers can overcome Union Saint-Gilloise first-leg deficit

The Light Blues will have to make history if they are to avoid an early Champions League exit having failed to qualify every time they have lost the first leg in a knockout round.
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Rangers will have to make history as they attempt to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit in a European tie for the first time next Tuesday.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side crashed to a dismal defeat against Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise in Leuven earlier this week to leave them with plenty of work to do in their Champions League third qualifying round clash.

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On five previous occasions in knockout rounds since taking part in their first ever European campaign in 1956, the Light Blues have returned to Glasgow needing to overcome a two-goal first-leg away defeat.

As of yet, they have failed to achieve that goal against Saint Etienne (1975/76), Steaua Bucharest (1987/88), Cologne (1988/89), AEK Athens (1994/95), Viktoria Zizkov (2002/03).

So where does this result rank in terms of the club’s worst European performances and what chances do Rangers have of progressing in the competition?

Defeats to Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn in 2017 and Lithuanian side FBK Kaunas in 2008 were particular low points for Rangers supporters in recent memory.

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The humiliating loss in Belgium was another gloomy night for the club, just two months after reaching the Europa League Final in Seville.

Rangers mustered just five attempts on goal throughout the 90 minutes, compared with Union’s 14 as last season’s Jupiler Pro League runners-up asserted their dominance.

Teddy Tuema’s first-half opener was followed by Dante Vanzeir’s hotly-disputed penalty and Rangers were fortunate not to concede further goals in the second half.

They suffered an early exit at the same stage to Swedish side Malmo 12 months ago but Van Bronckhorst’s players don’t need look back too far into the archives for a source of inspiration.

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GlasgowWorld takes a look back at FIVE previous European ties where Rangers have trailed heading into the return leg before staging a momentous comeback.

1984/85 - UEFA Cup, Round 1

Bohemians 3 Rangers 2

Rangers 2 Bohemians 0

Jock Wallace’s side made the short journey over to Dalymount Park and despite leading twice, courtesy of goals from a young Ally McCoist and a Dave McPherson header, the Irish side staged an impressive comeback to register one of the greatest results in the club’s history.

A brace from Rocky O’Brien set up a tense end to the match with captain Gino Lawless rifling home an unstoppable winner as violence on the terraces erupted, leading to a pitch invasion on a drama-fuelled night in Dublin.

The Bohs went down fighting at Ibrox in front of 31,000 fans as two late goals from Craig Paterson and Ian Redford sealed a thrilling 4-3 aggregate success and set up a second round clash with Italian giants Inter Milan.

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2004/05 - UEFA Cup, Round 1

Maritimo 1 Rangers 0

Rangers 1 Maritimo 0

Gregory Vignal scored the winning penalty against Maritimo in 2004. (Picture: SNS/Jeff Holmes)Gregory Vignal scored the winning penalty against Maritimo in 2004. (Picture: SNS/Jeff Holmes)
Gregory Vignal scored the winning penalty against Maritimo in 2004. (Picture: SNS/Jeff Holmes)

Alex McLeish’s side had eyes firmly on a place in the first-ever group stage of the UEFA Cup, but they had to do it the hard way after slumping to a narrow first-leg defeat.

Brazilian playmaker Leo Lima played a starring role for the Portuguese outfit at the Estadio dos Barreiros, with Gustavo Menduca scoring the only goal of the match.

A nail-biting 120 minutes at Ibrox followed a fortnight later as Dado Prso’s goal after 71 minutes sent the tie into extra-time.

No further goals were forthcoming, so the match went to penalties, with Nacho Novo, Prso, Steven Thompson and Gregor Vignal all converting their spot-kicks.

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Goalkeeper Stefan Klos saved from Chainho and Ferreira’s miss meant Rangers progressed.

2006/07 - UEFA Cup, Round 3

Hapoel Tel Aviv 2 Rangers 1

Rangers 4 Hapoel Tel Aviv 0

Walter Smith’s side were targeting a last-16 clash with Osasuna but they failed to find any rhythm against the Israelis as their good European form of 13 matches unbeaten deserted them during the first-leg.

Salim Toama’s long-range free kick was cancelled out by Nacho Novo close range finish but the Gers were caught out late on when Baruch Dago diverted Barda’s cross into the net.

However, Rangers made their home advatange count in the second leg as captain Barry Ferguson’s brace and further goals from Kris Boyd and substitute Charlie Adam sealed a comfortable victory against ordinary opposition. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor was sent off in the second half.

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2021/22 - UEFA Europa League, Quarter Final

S.C. Braga 1 Rangers 0

Rangers 3 S.C. Braga 1 (a.e.t)

The regining Scottish champions failed to register an effort on target for the first time in Europe since 2009 as they fell to a disappointing defeat against a youthful Braga side pakced full of quality at the Estadio Municipal.

Abel Ruiz scored the only goal of the game, while the hosts also had a first-half goal disallowed, ensuring Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side required a much-improved performance at Ibrox.

Given the scalps they had already taken, it was no real surprise his players stepped up their game to book a semi-final showdown against RB Leipzig.

James Tavernier’s early goal cancelled out the Portuguese side’s slender advantage before the skipper had fans on their feet again with a first-half penalty following Vitor Tormena’s dismissal.

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Rangers dominated but their failure to add to the scoreline was punished when David Carmo’s header forced the tie into extra-time.

Howeer, Kemar Roofe tapped home from close range as Braga began to tire and when Iuri Medeiros was sent off for a second bookable offence, the Glasgow giants knew they were off to Germany.

2021/22 - UEFA Europa League, Semi-Final

RB Leipzig 1 Rangers 0

Rangers 3 RB Leipzig 1

The Light Blues found themselves just two games away from reaching their first European final in 14 years but after a resolute display in the Red Bull Arena, they were undone by a late stunning Angelino volley five minutes from time.

The talented Bundesliga outfit found it difficult to break down a steely Gers defence but a moment of sheer brilliance was all that seperated the two sides’ heading into the return leg.

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On another emotionally charge night at Ibrox, Rangers defied the odds once again to reach the Europa League Final after a thrilling encounter.

James Tavernier and Glen Kamara turned the semi-final on its head within 25 minutes before Christopher Nkunku scored his 32nd goal of the season to reduce the deficit and level the tie.

Midfielder John Lundstram swept home the winner with 10 minutes remaining to spark wild scenes of celebration and utter disbelief among supporters.

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