Captain James Tavernier leads Rangers to historic triumph over Borussia Dortmund | Rangers 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
Ibrox was waiting. Ibrox was hoping. And when they needed him, their captain delivered. James Tavernier scored a brilliant brace as Rangers drew 2-2 on the night and beat Borussia Dortmund 6-4 on aggregate, to secure their place in the Europa League last 16.
The right-back’s first goal came like in the first leg – from the penalty spot. But his second was a supreme quality finish as he drilled a bouncing cross into the corner from close range – sending a thrilled Ibrox into ecstasy.
This completion of the job they did so brilliantly in Germany last week is considered one of the greatest European achievements in the mammoth club’s eclectic history. They may be under bad weather domestically at the moment, but this European night in Glasgow was enough to cure all ills.
The yellow flags were waved in defiance rather than celebration, and instead it was the home side of Ibrox that fully rebounded. It’s not just an iconic result for Rangers, but one of the best results for a Scottish club in Europe in a long, long time.
Rangers were on the ropes from the start when Jude Bellingham hit the post at close range from a corner, and the home side survived. The Scottish champions found themselves under pressure for the first 20 minutes, but then, in a deft move, Ryan Kent got a yard of space, and he made the most of it.
Using his pace to reach the ball first, he was stumbled into the box by Julian Brandt’s leg and James Tavernier – as he had in the first leg – stepped forward to smash the ball and send Ibrox into the delirium. The crowd rebounded as their heroes on the pitch went up 5-2 on aggregate, and even famous Dortmund fans were shocked at what they were experiencing.
Brandt had the best chance to level things as Bellginham broke through, but his effort was direct on Allan McGregor. However, the Englishman, engine of all that the visitors produced good, equalized the scores in the night.
Goldson failed to clear a low ball and the ball fell on the Englishman, who briefly stopped the Scottish party going on at Ibrox. 1-1. Parity at night.
Scott Arfield should have scored when played by Joe Aribo but was denied by Gregor Kobel before Alfredo Morelos’ effort was blocked on the line and then the yellows had their own chance as Donyell Malen was spectacularly refused by McGregor.
They kept coming and going forward on the night through leader Malen, replacing the injured Erling Haaland. Bellingham was again in the center of goal as he played Malen who was able to drive home from close range.
Malen was again denied by McGregor and the tie was on the razor’s edge at half-time. The 15-minute break allowed both fans to catch their breath, before the action resumed at a breakneck pace.
Morelos saw his powerful effort miss the near post, but Ibrox would explode again after brilliant work from Gavin Massey. Down the left wing he kicked in a ball that was not cleared by Mats Hummels, and captain Tavernier was there to hit a superb first-time strike into the back of the net.
Marcos Reus rounded McGregor but couldn’t find the finish before Rangers extended their lead. In fact, they did. Morelos snatched the ball from unsuspecting Emre Can, then rolled the ball over to Ryan Kent to tap home. However, VAR ruled that Morelos fouled the Dortmund defender when he was clearly kicked by Can, not the other way around.
But Rangers did not flinch from that moment. They stayed strong. They didn’t let the Germans back in the draw, and full time would spark wild celebrations around the stadium.
It was Rangers night. It was the Rangers tie. The most significant result in their recent history and a night that will be long remembered.
Do we dare to think of the last 16?