Captain James Tavernier Leads Rangers To Historic Triumph Over Borussia Dortmund

The captain scored twice at Ibrox as Rangers progressed on aggregate
22:01, 24 Feb 2022

Ibrox was waiting. Ibrox was hoping. And when they needed him, their captain delivered. James Tavernier scored a brilliant brace as Rangers secured a 2-2 draw on the night and beat Borussia Dortmund 6-4 on aggregate, to secure their place in the last 16 of the Europa League. 

The right-back’s first goal came just as it had in the first leg - from the penalty spot. But his second was a finish of supreme quality as he drilled a bouncing cross into the corner from close range - sending a delighted Ibrox into ecstasy. 

This completion of the job they did so brilliantly in Germany last week, goes down as one of the greatest European results in the eclectic history of this massive club. They may be under the weather domestically at this current moment in time, but this European night in Glasgow was enough to cure any ills. 

The yellow flags were waved in defiance rather than celebration, and instead it was the home end of Ibrox that was completely bouncing. This isn’t 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 early on as Jude Bellingham hit the post from close range from a corner, and the home side survived. The Scottish champions came under the cosh for the opening 20 minutes but then, in a slick move, Ryan Kent got a yard of space, and he made the most of it. 

Using his pace to get to the ball first, he was tripped in the box by the leg of Julian Brandt and James Tavernier - as he did in the first leg - stepped up to smash the ball home and send Ibrox into delirium. The crowd bounced as their heroes on the pitch went 5-2 up on aggregate, and even the famous Dortmund fans were left shell-shocked as to what they were experiencing. 

Brandt had the best chance to level things as Bellginham broke through, but his effort was straight at Allan McGregor. However, the Englishman, the driving force of everything good the visitors produced, levelled the scores on the night. 

Goldson failed to clear a low ball in, and the ball fell to the Englishman, who briefly stopped the Scottish party that was unfolding at Ibrox. 1-1. Parity on the night. 

Scott Arfield should have scored when he was played in by Joe Aribo but he was denied by Gregor Kobel before Alfredo Morelos’ effort was blocked on the line and then the yellows had a chance of their own, as Donyell Malen was spectacularly denied by McGregor.

They kept on coming, and would go ahead on the night through their front man Malen, stepping in for the injured Erling Haaland. Bellingham once again was at the centre of the goal as he played in Malen who was able to flick home from close range. 

Malen was denied by McGregor again and the tie was on a knife edge at half-time. The 15 minute break allowed sets of both fans to draw breath, before the action resumed at breakneck pace. 

Morelos saw his powerful effort miss the near post, but Ibrox would explode again after brilliant work from Gavin Massey. On the left-wing he whipped a ball in that was not cleared by Mats Hummels, and captain Tavernier was there to hit a wonderful strike first time into the back of the net. 

Marcos Reus rounded McGregor but couldn’t find the finish before Rangers should have extended their lead. In fact, they did. Morelos nicked the ball off the unsuspecting Emre Can and then rolled the ball to Ryan Kent to tap home. However, VAR ruled Morelos had fouled the Dortmund defender when he was clearly kicked by Can, not the other way around. 

But Rangers didn’t fluster from this moment. They stayed strong. They didn’t let the Germans back into the tie, and full-time would spark wild celebrations around the stadium. 

This was Rangers’ night. This was Rangers’ tie. The most significant result of their recent history and a night that will live long in the memory.

Dare we think about the last 16?

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