(Reuters) – Rangers picked the perfect time to record their first win over Spanish opposition in Spain on Thursday after the Scottish side stunned Real Betis 3-2 in Seville and snatched the top spot in their Europa League group, booking a place in the round of 16.
Returning to the city where they lost in the final of the same competition in 2022, Rangers handed Betis their first home defeat in all competitions this season as new manager Philippe Clement’s unbeaten run climbed to 13 games.
Two goals for each side in a manic first half set up a nervy finish at the Estadio Benito Villamarin before Kemar Roofe came off the bench and tucked home the winner, with the oft-injured forward scoring his first goal since August.
Clement, who replaced Michael Beale in October after a poor start to the season, said it was a “statement” win over the Spaniards, who are seventh in LaLiga and held Real Madrid 1-1 in Seville on Saturday.
“There were a lot of records to break,” the Belgian added. “It is a little bit like going to the Olympics, doing the high jump and putting the bar so high that everybody thins it is impossible to do it, but you jump over it.”
The draw for the next round of the Europa League takes place on Monday.
(Reporting by Peter Rutherford in Seoul; Editing by Gerry Doyle)