Rangers tonight welcome Red Star to Ibrox on European duty. A huge match and a welcomed challenge for a squad which has tasted this opportunity before and aims to go one further. Make no mistake, this will be a tough game and a tough opposition.
A different proposition to Dortmund in that there is more pressure this evening with many expecting Rangers to be favourites. A chance for the club to earn more European income and not to mention the opportunity to make it to a major European quarter final. So it’s high stakes but Rangers can’t afford to take this side lightly.
Domestically Red Star are performing well, just two points off top spot and recently won their local derby. They might not have the household names that Dortmund boast but they will be every bit as big a threat to our progression. Rangers have the experience of last year in drawing Prague and everyone expecting progression, we can’t afford to be anything but on our game.
Rangers are on the back of two better league results with the return of the ‘zero’ and six welcomed points. In a strange twist of irony, Rangers weren’t at our best in those matches but it’s a results based industry.
With the Europa league and Scottish cup in the next eight days, our season’s pathway will begin to take shape and like every game, it’s huge and progress is massively welcomed.
So for tonight Gio has went with Allan McGregor as his no 1. A back four of James Tavernier, Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun partnering Connor Goldson at centre back. In the midfield Ryan Jack is partnered by John Lundstram, with Glen Kamra. Joe Aribo just off them on the right. Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos play up top.
Lots of flexibility in this selection. So interesting to see how we go.
C’mon the Rangers 🔴⚪️🔵
First half action
3 mins – Red star have the ball in the net, offside flag is up! A nervous VAR check and it’s confirmed offside.
8 mins – Good build up with Kent, it works it’s way to Jack who pops an effort wide. It was good work from Rangers as Kent runs at the defence, he’s tripped but Bassey takes it on and it’s blocked before Jack took it on. Kent was fouled there.
VAR check! It’s a Penalty! PENALTY RANGERS!
Tavernier steps up….. GOOOOAAAAALLLLL! What a pen that was and Rangers are ahead 👏🏻
13 mins – Goal Red star, they spring the trap and score but flag is up, again! VAR check again…. Offside confirmed!
15 mins – GOOOAAAAALLLLL! It’s Alfredo Morelos! Short corner to Jack and it breaks to Alfie at the back and he keeps his shot low and hard into the net. Dreamland for Rangers as we are two up!
23 mins – PENALTY RED STAR! Good build up and ball inside Tav and Goldson, Jack follows the runner but pulls him back, that was stupid and a needless tug of the jersey.
CAUTION 📒 Jack.
SAVED BY MCGREGOR!!!! RAAARRRRRR! WHAT A MOMENT!
He springs to his right and tips it wide, what a save Greegsy!
29 mins – CAUTION 📒 Aribo is late in the slide and he is in the book.
33 mins – Brilliant defending by Bassey who presses and launches an attack, he’s been superb in the press.
41 mins – CHANCE! Bassey again in the press and links with Kent brilliantly, breaks for Kamara and he fires just over. Almost 3!
45 mins – SHOT! Morelos with a long range drive which bounces and keeper gathers well, I may have wooofffdddd as he hit it there, I’m a little bit excited!
Red Star break and flag us up but a tremendous McGregor save again even though it’s off!
This has been frantic!
HT – RANGERS 2 RED STAR 0
Half time summary
What a half! Two VAR disallowed Red star goals and a penalty VAR Rangers goal and another Buff strike in Europe, all in the first 15! Then a wonder McGregor penalty stop to keep us two up!
Red Star have been quality and we have switched to 3 at back with Lundstram dropping in to help cover their pacey runs. Great to get the goals and we have been clinical but need to keep hold of the ball.
Long way to go but doing really well against a very good side in possession. Big second half needed!
Second half action
52 mins – GOOOOAAAALLLLL! Rangers win the corner through Tavernier and Morelos press. It’s swung in and Balogun bullets in a header! It’s 3-0!
57 mins – Tav free kick is into the side net as Rangers hunt another.
60 mins – CAUTION 📒 Ropic, foul on Aribo!
63 mins – Morelos forces goalie into a save, corner is cleared.
70 mins – CHANCE! Tavernier corner and Goldson header is off the line!
72 mins – BAR! Red star Kanga drills a long range shot off the bar, what an effort!
78 mins – A Tavernier free kick and Goldson header is saved by GK.
80 mins – CHANCE! Red Star come close in a scramble, Bassey and Sands mistakes mean a break for Red Star and we survive somehow, the stroke of luck we needed! Another McGregor save low down in there also.
83 mins – Red Star free kick into wall after Fashion gives away silly foul. Red Star pressure.
85 mins – Red Star attack again and ball is in the net, it’s Offside and another VAR check! It is offside, brilliant McGregor save keeps it at 3-0 before the tap in is offside.
89 mins – CHANCE! Goldson chance at the back post after GK missed a Tavernier cross!
90 mins – CHANCE! Sakala breaks and bullets a low shot which the keeper stops!
FT – RANGERS 3 RED STAR 0
Full time reaction
What a performance again from Rangers on the big European stage. Res Star a quality side but Rangers ruthless and clinical in taking their chances. Lady luck on our side as we survived many half chances from Red Star but it was for them also as we had chances to increase our lead further. We looked capable of hurting them every time we went forward. VAR with a huge penalty call and three correct offside Red Star goals.
But it was a night for our club.
Morelos again on fire but a huge mention to the whole team for working themselves into the ground with a brilliant effort. Kent unplayable and with Morelos they can terrorise any defence. But a huge shout to Allan McGregor, our number one in superb form with some brilliant saves and a tremendous penalty save.
So much to think about and relive in a frantic 90mins but it’s only half time in this tie. More to do next week but a famous night at Ibrox as superb Rangers crush Red Star. An excellent evening for this club.
Well done the Rangers 🔴⚪️🔵
4lads MOTM Allan McGregor
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