Steven Davis’ late strike handed Rangers a much-needed lifeline of their Champions League third-round qualifier, shedding the primary leg 2-1 at Malmo.
Steven Gerrard’s facet had seen the higher of the possibilities within the opening half. Ryan Kent was concerned in lots of the good attacking strikes, together with a blocked shot simply earlier than the break.
However Rangers have been sucker punched early within the second interval, taking part in in entrance of a raucous residence crowd. Soren Reiks slotted residence the opener within the forty seventh minute, earlier than Veljko Birmancevic (49) – who had set him up – noticed a shot residence through the underside of the publish to in the end seal the victory for the hosts.
Nevertheless, there was late drama available when, with the final kick of the sport, Davis (90+5) fired residence from the sting of the field to half the deficit and provides Rangers a combating likelihood.
It nonetheless leaves the Scottish Premiership champions with an enormous job on Tuesday, after they welcome Malmo to Ibrox and try to arrange a Champions League play-off tie with both Ludogorets or Olympiakos.
How Malmo gained the primary leg
The primary half was a relatively even affair – a lot in order that each side noticed their first photographs of the sport inside a minute of one another. Rangers struck first, however Scott Arfield’s effort was a straightforward assortment for Johan Dahlin. On the different finish, Jo Inge Berget lower in from the precise earlier than placing, however pressured an excellent save from Allan McGregor.
Rangers continued to see the higher probabilities although. Kent sped away down the left, however his cross into the field evaded Scott Wright, who had slipped over. Simply after, it was one other excellent break, however Wright’s ball in was lower out by Lasse Nielsen.
Malmo: Dahlin (6), Moisander (6), Rieks (7), Lewicki (6), Colak (6), Christiansen (7), Ahemdhodzic (6), Birmancevic, (7) Harmless (5), Nielsen (5), Berget (5).
Subs used: Nalic (5), Abubakari (n/a), Beijmo (n/a), Rakip (n/a).
Rangers: McGregor (6), Tavernier (7), Goldson (7), Helander (6), Barisic (6), Davis (6), Lundstram (6), Arfield (7), Wright (8), Kent (8), Itten (5).
Subs used: Sakala (6).
Man of the match: Ryan Kent.
It was the Malmo defender who once more thwarted one other Rangers assault simply earlier than the break. James Tavernier made a fantastic steal inside his personal half earlier than driving down the precise flank. He picked out Kent on the high of the realm, however regardless of working himself into good house, his effort was blocked by Nielsen earlier than being booted away from hazard.
- Rangers made seven modifications from the weekend’s league victory. Allan McGregor, Fillip Helander, Borna Barisic, John Lundstram, Scott Arfield, Scott Wright and Cedric Itten all got here into the XI, changing Jon McLaughlin, Leon Balogun, Calvin Bassey, Glen Kamara, Ianis Hagi, Joe Aribo and Trend Sakala.
- Glen Kamara, Leon Balogun and Kemar Roofe have been all suspended.
However Rangers made the worst potential begin to the second half as Malmo netted two quickfire objectives. Birmancevic labored himself into some good house within the space and located an unmarked Rieks in the direction of the again publish. It was then a curling end previous McGregor to see the hosts forward.
With the Rangers defence in disarray, Malmo added their second two minutes later in a similar way. Having simply arrange the opener, Birmancevic was by some means left unmarked over on the precise. He collected a cross earlier than sweeping residence into the far nook through the underside of the publish, with Connor Goldson unable to maintain it out.
Malmo solely grew in confidence after the objectives, and Rangers couldn’t muster a lot till the latter phases. Wright lower in from the left, selecting out summer season signing Trend Sakala within the center, however the striker simply lifted his effort extensive. In added time, Wright had an enchantment for a penalty turned down after contact from Nielsen inside the realm.
However Rangers’ greatest second of the sport was to return. It was no shock to see Kent concerned, twisting and turning on the precise earlier than selecting out Davis on the high of the realm. It was then an exquisite striker that flew into the again of the web, giving the guests an important lifeline forward of the second leg.
Man of the match – Ryan Kent
It was one other good efficiency from Kent, who was the important thing driving pressure behind Rangers’ attacking play. It was his fast toes that assist create the objective, and he might be important within the second leg.
Credit score too should additionally go to Wright, who additionally did effectively when trusted by Gerrard in such an enormous recreation.
Rangers journey to Dundee United on Saturday within the Scottish Premiership, stay on Sky Sports activities; kick-off 12.30pm. They’ll then welcome Malmo to Ibrox on Tuesday night; kick-off 8pm.