A tremendous performance from Rangers and a late winning goal, in front of a wild Ibrox crowd mourning the loss of kit man Jimmy Bell, sent them into their first European final since 2008.
Goals from James Tavernier, Glen Kamara and John Lundstram overturned Leipzig’s first-leg advantage, handing the favourites a surprise defeat; they must now hope to qualify for next season's Champions League through the Bundesliga, in which they currently sit fifth.
Rangers flew at Leipzig from the off, giving them no time to settle into the game, and though they did not create much, it was no great shock when they took the lead, Tavernier arriving at the back post to slide in his seventh goal knockout stages. Then, six minutes later, they scored again, Kamara placing a precise finish into the corner from the edge of the box.
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In the second half, Leipzig were much improved, and their equaliser, on 71 minutes, was not unexpected, Christopher Nkunku calmly planting a side footed volley past Allan McGregor.
But with Rangers struggling hold out for extra time with 10 minutes left, Ryan Kent stood up a cross to the back post. Josko Gvardiol cleared from under the bar, and Lundstram collected the loose ball to spank Ibrox into ecstasy.
TALKING POINT - Who needs Gerrard anyway?
When Steven Gerrard left Rangers, it looked like he was getting out at the right time. He’d taken advantage of the Neil Lennon interregnum between Brendan Rodgers and Ange Postecoglu to win himself a league title, stopping Celtic’s bid for 10 in a row in the process, then escaped back to England as soon Celtic were good again.
But replacing him with Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been a masterstroke. His side improved in the league, but it is in Europe that he has really shone, his tactics helping Rangers see off Borussia Dortmund – the away leg was the greatest single performance this writer has ever seen from a Rangers side - and now Leipzig, a quality outfit by any measure, have been sent the same way.
Both those sides are better than Eintracht Frankfurt, who Rangers meet in the final, which is to say they have a serious chance of winning this trophy, and with it a place in next season’s Champions League. Accomplish that, take the money that comes with it, and with Celtic also in good shape, we could be talking about a new golden age of Scottish fitba.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Calvin Bassey (Rangers)
This could be pretty much anyone in a blue shirt, but Bassey was superb at the back, winning challenges, headers and second balls. Immense.
Rangers: McGregor 6, Tavernier 8, Godlson 8, Bassey 9, Barisic 7, Jack 7, Lundstram 8, Kamara 8, Wright 7, Aribo 7, Kent 7. Subs: Sakala 6, Arfield 6, Balogun 7.
Leipzig: Gulasci 6, Klostermann 6, Orban 6, Gvardiol 7, Henrichs 6, Laimer 6, Kampl 6, Angelino 6, Olmo 5, Nkunku 7, Poulsen 4. Subs: Szoboszlai 6, Halstenberg 6, Silva 6 .
18’ - GOAL! Rangers 1-0 Leipzig (1-1 on agg, Tavernier): OH MY GOD! LISTEN TO THAT! Kamara wins the ball down the left, finds Kent, and he drives forward, lets go a cross-shot, and who's arriving at the back post? None other than the Rangers captain, who slides in his seventh - ! - goal of the knockouts! That's why Rangers are playing wing-backs!
24’ - GOAL! Rangers 2-0 Leipzig (2-1 on agg, Kamara): RANGERS HAVE TURNED IT AROUND! OH MY ABSOLUTE DAYS! He sends it wide to Aribo who squares low and into the box for Wright, who does really well to hold up then touch off, perfectly into the stride of Kamara. But there's work to do yet, Kamara stepping onto it and curling a fine left-footer into the far corner! It is going off!
Glen Kamara of Rangers celebrates with Ryan Kent after scoring
Image credit: Getty Images
29’ - YOU GET THE FEELING RANGERS WILL NEED ANOTHER! And it should come here! Barisic crosses from the left, the gigantic Tavernier heads back across and Aribo is in front of goal ... but misses his kick, looping up a proper donkey effort! What an oversight that is! What an oversight that might become!
70’ - BUT HERE'S NKUNKU AGAIN! He slips a clever ball in behind for Laimer, and he's through! But McGregor is out quickly to narrow angle and reduce space, blocking the eventuating shot! That's a colossal moment!
71' - GOAL! Rangers 2-1 Leipzig (2-2 on agg, Nkunku): It's been coming and now it's here! Angelino swings in a lovely cross from the left and Nkunku, unmarked, opens his body nicely to plant a sidefooted volley past McGregor!
81' - GOAL! Rangers 3-1 Leipzig (3-2 on agg, Lundstram): OH MY ABSOLUTE COMPLETE AND UTTER DAYS! A hump into the box finds its way to Kent down the left. He gets to the line, dinks a cross to the far stick and it's about to drop in, before Gvardiol makes an amazing clearance from under the bar. But the ball drops to Lundstram, who calmly puts laces through it and Rangers are 10 minutes and change from Seville! Football!
- Rangers are the first Scottish club to reach the final of a major European competition since they played in the 2007-08 Uefa Cup final. They have reached five such showpieces, as many as every other Scottish side combined.
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