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Steven Gerrard hailed Rangers substitute Joe Aribo for his Europa League display

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Rangers

Steven Gerrard hailed Rangers substitute Joe Aribo for his Europa League display

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard raved about Joe Aribo following his performance on the European stage on Thursday night against Sporting Braga.

The Light Blues recorded a famous comeback to beat an impressive Portuguese side 3-2 at Ibrox in the first leg of a Europa League Round of 32 tie.

They will take a slender aggregate lead into the second leg next week in Portugal and they had to overturn a two-goal deficit to keep themselves in the fixture.

Fransergio opened the scoring for the visitors in the first-half with a stunning long-range effort, before Abel Ruiz doubled the advantage just shy of the hour mark.

But the Gers ended up winning the contest thanks to a crazy comeback that was sparked by an Ianis Hagi goal in the 67th minute, as he cut onto his left footed and saw his shot go in at the near post.

Aribo then netted a memorable equaliser after evading several Braga defenders with his forward dribble and he showed the composure with a finish at the end of it.

 

Hagi’s deflected free-kick then gave the Scottish giants the win, but the tie is very much alive still.

Gerrard singled out Aribo for immense credit following his display in the second-half.

“I absolutely loved Joe Aribo tonight for a couple of reasons. One because he never sulked when he wasn’t in the XI, he was positive in the dressing room and when I asked him to come on and do a job he was super ready,” Gerrard said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.

“He epitomised everything that we were about in the second-half. Played out of position, played in more than one position, never complained and got on with it. He had a massive, outstanding contribution tonight I’m so proud of him.”

(Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

TBR’s View:

Aribo was left out of the starting line up on Thursday, but ended the action in the 54th minute in the centre of the park and proved his quality on the big stage.

The central midfielder took up his usual position to try add some extra creative flair, but ended up slotting into an unfamiliar left-back role when Borna Barisic was forced off through injury.

Aribo showed great professionalism to do a job at full-back and his solo goal was breathtaking.

The 23-year-old has now managed eight goals across all competitions this season and it was definitely the pick of the bunch.

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