Braga attacker Rui Fonte has previewed his side’s clash against Rangers at Ibrox on Thursday night, as quoted by the Daily Record.
The Gers host the in-form Portuguese club for the first leg of the Europa League Round of 32 tie in a welcome break from their struggles in the Scottish Premiership.
Knockout European football is an exciting prospect for fans who have been let down since the winter break and the stadium will be packed to the rafters for this one.
It’s something Fonte says he’s looking forward to, as it’s relatively uncommon in the Primeira Liga.
“We know what we’ll face,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Record. “Ibrox is a historical stadium and Rangers are a strong team. I know they went through a rough period and now they’re trying to make up for lost time.”
“I enjoy going to places like Benfica and Ibrox. We know we’ll face a passionate crowd in Glasgow who will support their own team but that will be a great experience for our players.
“In Portugal, we don’t get to play in many stadiums like Ibrox. Benfica’s an exception with 60,000 there but that’s unusual for us so we’re looking forward to Thursday.”
The Portuguese club’s own Estadio Municipal de Braga is an open-ended ground with a capacity of 30,000, but attendances rarely surpass 15,000 [footballwebpages.co.uk].
Therefore, Braga players are accustomed to playing in front of less than a third of the 50,000 who will be seated at Ibrox later in the week.
Their weekend result away at Benfica is evidence that they won’t necessarily wilt under the pressure.
However, flying over to a Scotland currently in the midst of a dreadful spell of weather for a knockout European tie is a different prospect to a domestic trip to Lisbon when they had nothing to lose other than an unbeaten record.
Ibrox has been solemn in recent weeks, but Feyenoord and Porto all wilted when the pressure was ramped up in Govan before Christmas, and if the atmosphere and performance are both right on the night, Rangers should still fancy their chances.