Image for ANTWERP 3 v 4 RANGERS

By Mark Dingwall

Rangers made five changes to the team which played at the weekend.

Roofe and Morelos were to be assisted up front by Aribo.

Arfield came in to start the match with Ryan Kent and Ryan Jack both taking places on the bench.

The first period began as a chess match with both teams tentatively probing but with Antwerp taking more of a lead with a high press.

In eight minutes they broke forward in what looked like a dangerous move but the cross from their right was deftly collected by McGregor.

James Tavernier had to come off in the 22nd minute as a delayed reaction to an earlier foul.  After treatment he re-entered the field of play only to immediately go down again after the first time he touched the ball and was replaced by Balogun due to the unavailability of Nathan Patterson.

In the 28th minute Alfredo Morelos was put through on the left hand side, the offside call was tight yet he got his shot off but the keeper saved.

37 minutes Joe Aribo scored from outside the box – initially Goldson split the defence with a long ball to Kemar Roofe who just couldn’t control it – the ball fell just outside the box – the Belgian keeper came out of his box to contend with Morelos for it and the ball fell spare to Aribo who stepped up to place it into the net to score the 100th goal of Rangers season.

Despite Rangers coming to dominate the final fifteen minutes of the match, in the final minute of the half McGrgeor was beaten by a free header from Avenatti after a great cross on a free kick from the right.

In first half extra time Kent had to come on a substitute for Kemar Roofe who seemed to be nursing a knock on his thigh.

Seven minutes into extra time of the first half Rangers conceded a penalty kick as Steve Davis had minimal contact on the edge of the box with Refalov – who then took and scored the penalty.

Into the second half Antwerp sat deeper and Rangers took advantage with a great sweeping move involving Glen Kamara who then passed out right to Aribo whose shot/cross was cleared by the defender despite bypassing he keeper..

Immediately thereafter Rangers were involved in a VAR decision for a De Last foul on Morelos.

The penalty was given and Barasic stepped up to take it as Tavernier was off the field and scored on his 100th Rangers appearance.

With few chances in the second period Antwerp’s first real attack of the half resulted in a goal as the Belgians cut in from the left wing almost unopposed – to square up a shot for Hongla to shoot smartly from outside the box giving McGregor no chance.  3-2

74 mins – double sub – on came Hagi and Jack for Kamara and Arfield.  At the same time the Antwerp keeper overstretched and had to be replaced.

With almost his first chance Hagi pushed the ball wide at the left hand post after Barasic fired in a cross across the face of goal.

82 mins – Kent scores – he danced into the box earning a give and go with Morelos before a tremendous shot into the net.

Shortly after the restart Kent had another shot saved by the foot of the keeper as he was put through.

Morelos was again crucial putting in a cross in the 88th minute to Kent whose shot was hand-balled by Such – who had committed innumerable fouls – for a penalty.  Barasic took the spot kick against the new goalkeeper De Wolf and scored!

Six minutes of injury time were added!  

After the match Steve Davis said “It was a bit of a roller coaster!  We didn’t feel we were quite at it in the first half.  To concede two goals in quick succession was disappointing but the reaction was what mattered.  A hard fought win and an important result to take back to Ibrox.  We have to respect them and the threat they carry.  We need to go out and put in a performance at Ibrox.”

Steven Gerrard said he felt they didn’t play the game at full throttle in the first half, at halftime he asked the players to show more belief and hunt in packs.  On Alfredo Morelos he said his play was a constant threat.  Kermar Roofe has another calm injury.  Tavernier is a worry as he never goes off the pitch.  The replacements did an excellent job.


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