Football locker rooms are sacred spaces filled with secrets and rites known only to those who have access. They have more in common with the narrators than with the dressing rooms, and in many cases the narrator is the man who is given the title of guardian of the garments and who, in the narrowest sense, is responsible for removing the T-shirts, pants, socks. duhura. and shoes.
Jimmy Bell was one such man, he worked for the Glasgow Rangers for over 30 years. Until he died suddenly on Tuesday. On Thursday night, the Rangers played RB Leipzig in the Europa League semi-finals and they did not just want to make up for the 1-0 loss from the first leg. But most of all, win for Jimmy. They succeeded. The Rangers won 3-1 and advanced to the final in Seville, where they meet Eintracht Frankfurt on 18 May. It will be the most important match for the Rangers in exactly 50 years when they won the Cup Winners’ Cup in Barcelona against Dynamo Moscow. For Leipzig, on the other hand, a title option is gone. You still have hope of winning the cup. They meet SC Freiburg in the Berlin final on 21 May.
The Rangers victory was based on the fact that their team had nothing to do with the team that was presented at the Leipzig Arena last week. There Glasgow was a kind of Dr. Jekyll, at home in Ibrox Park, coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team was now Mr. Hyde. A feverish team that appeared from the first second as if 50 thousand spectators were digging incentives in the flesh of eleven players in blue jerseys. Even in the VIP box, the upper class roared furiously, though they wore finely knotted ties and did their part to ensure that every duel on the field was fought with the unwavering determination associated with tavern quarrels.
But while the Rangers were dealing with broken glasses, the Leipzig team lined up with torn Tetra-Paks. The first foul was committed in the 35th minute. At that point, the Rangers were already leading 2-0.
Leipzig’s happiness lasts only ten minutes
The first goal in particular was emotionally powerful. Ryan Kent penetrated to the left and made a low pass in the six-meter area, where James Tavernier pushed the ball over the line from close range (19 ‘). Tavernier had shown last night how clothing manager Bell pulled the captain’s armband over his biceps before each match. Five minutes later it was Glen Kamara who scored from 16 yards to score 2-0 at Leipzig’s gate. RB Leipzig had little more to counter this than the shots of his two Spaniards. After Dani Olmo placed just over the corner (28th place), just before the break, Angelino hit defender Joe Aribo in a knockout literally from a free kick. – Aribo was hit in the face, knocked down and had to be replaced.
This was the only stage in which coach Domenico Tedesco was able to communicate with his team. In the isolation of their cabin, the spectators could not be heard. Subsequently, Leipzig could have longer stages of ball possession. But no convincing opportunity arose from this. Their game lacked the urgency, determination and accuracy needed for a long time – until Konrad Laimer was released in the center in the 70th minute and was alone in front of Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor in the penalty area.
Laimer shot the goalkeeper – and was lucky that another great opportunity opened up immediately when he was still busy tearing his hair. Because after an Angelino cross from the left, striker Christopher Nkunku extended – who else? – Ball in the net to make the score 2-1 (71). With this, the elimination round was balanced. But only for ten minutes.
A cross from the Ranges attacking power, Kent grew taller and taller – and flew into a high arc over Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi. Defender Josko Gvardiol kicks the ball away from the goal. But he landed on John Lundstram, who shot into the flat to make the score 3-1. That meant the only final – also because at the time of the death of their clothing manager Jimmy Bell, the Rangers professionals were ready to play the game of their lives.