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African All Stars

Europa League: Rangers’ Bassey bullish ahead of Red Star Belgrade clash

16:09 WAT 10/03/2022
Rangers and Nigeria defender Calvin Bassey.
Victory over the Serbian Super Liga outfit will boost the Gers’ chances of reaching the competition’s last eight

Calvin Bassey stated Rangers stand a chance to defeat Red Star Belgrade if they replicate their performance against Borussia Dortmund.

The Gers welcome the Serbian elite division outfit to the Ibrox Stadium for Thursday’s first leg Round of 16 showdown.

To reach this stage, the Scottish Premier League side saw off Dortmund 6-4 on aggregate, whereas, Red Star advanced to the knockout stage as group winners of a zone that had Braga, Midtjylland and Ludogorets Razgrad.

Ahead of the showdown against Dejan Stankovic’s side, the Nigerian defender revealed that his team will do all it takes to make the second leg a mere formality.

“I think we’ve got a good bunch of boys who are very enthusiastic,” the 22-year-old told the media as per Rangers TV.

“Everyone is full of energy and we always want to do well.

“So I don’t see why we should look at ourselves as below anyone else. I think if we perform the same way as we did against Dortmund then we have a real chance.

“Obviously, we know we are coming up against a strong opponent, a good team. But we’re a good team as well.

“We are just going to go out there and try and give our best. Hopefully, we can come away with a good result to take with us to Belgrade."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men are unbeaten in their last nine matches in all competitions - with their last outing ending in a 1-0 triumph over Aberdeen.

To the Dutchman, his players will benefit from having a packed Ibrox behind them as he predicted another “special night” on Edmiston Drive.

“I have no doubt that they will be behind us, In the last home game they were terrific, especially in Europe, a special night against Dortmund so I think the players will feel the energy in the stadium and the support of our home fans,” said Van Bronckhorst.

“I think they will be there supporting us for 90 minutes and we just need to make sure we have a good vibe between the players and the fans.

“ I think that’s what we’ve always had in Europe so I think tomorrow will be no different.”

Although the Serbians have tipped Rangers to reign supreme, the Gers’ boss disclosed his side will do their talking on the pitch as they aim for the quarter-finals after becoming only the second team ever to reach the last 16 of the Europa League three years in a row.

“We have to do our business on the pitch that’s the most important thing. That’s what we are going to do and trying to do,” he added.

“I played a legends game with Stankovic in a 5-a-side legends game but I know his history as a player. A great midfielder who could pass. I have a lot of respect for him as a player and as a coach.”