John Lundstram hit a dramatic late winner to send Rangers into their first European final for 14 years with a 3-2 aggregate victory over RB Leipzig in the Europa League semi-final.
Goals from James Tavernier, Glen Kamara and Lundstram ensured Rangers moved to the final for the first time since 2008, where they will face Eintracht Frankfurt, bidding to win a second European trophy 50 years after the 1972 Winners’ Cup.
Captain Tavernier opened the scoring in the 18th minute, becoming the Europa League’s top scorer this season with his seventh goal, before midfielder Kamara’s long-range effort six minutes later extended the lead.
Leipzig, who won the first leg 1-0, hit back when forward Christopher Nkunku received a perfect cross from Angelino to score in the 70th minute, but Rangers claimed the vital goal when a defensive mix-up after a corner allowed Lundstram to sweep the ball home.
“It’s been an amazing night,” said Van Bronckhorst. “We had the start we wanted, it was important to score first in this game. At half-time, we knew it would be hard because they needed to push, and they did. I knew the next goal would be decisive. John’s goal gave us the energy and power to play the closing minutes.
“I am very proud. The interaction with the fans was amazing. I have had so many games here as player and manager but the atmosphere here was incredible.”
Rangers face Eintracht Frankfurt – who beat West Ham 3-1 on aggregate – in the Europa League final in Seville on May 18, looking to go one better than in 2008 when they lost the UEFA Cup final to Zenit Saint Petersburg.
“It’s unbelievable. Towards the end Lunny [John Lundstram] came up with the goods. A European final, it’s what you dream of,” Tavernier said.
“We’ll go there [final] full of confidence. Frankfurt got there for a reason, but it’s one game and we’ll fully back ourselves. We’re in this to win it. We want to make all the fans proud.”
This was Rangers’ 18th game in UEFA competitions this season and also one of their most extensive European games at Ibrox since they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final second leg on their way to winning the trophy.
Frankfurt are 11th in the Bundesliga, and Rangers have already knocked out the German league’s second-placed Borussia Dortmund and fifth-placed Leipzig this season.