Europa League Round of 16, Thursday 11th March 2011
By Mark Dingwall
Rangers started with a team unchanged from Saturday’s starting line-up against St Mirren.
The game started with Slavia dominating possession and they took the lead with a fine goal from the Romanian Stanciu from an unpromising position outside the box on the left hand side – he hardly seemed to look up as he took possession and fired in a shot to the far corner of the net which left Allan McGregor standing. It was a great shot but he did perhaps have a little too much time and certainly space to compose himself – McGregor gave him too much space with his positioning.
Slavia dominated with good possession and an aggressive pressing style for the first twenty minutes – when Rangers did get into the opposition half their best chance was a free kick from Barasic which was delivered rather slowly and was ushered away by the Czech defence.
Rangers had precious little to show for their efforts until the 35th minute. Morelos won a foul out on the left hand side. It was floated in by Barasic – knocked down onto the byeline by Goldson’s thigh where Hagi collected it and fired it across the goal for on onrushing Helander to tap it into the net.
The second half saw Rangers improve but it wasn’t until another 20 minutes were played that a real chance was created with a move by Aribo down the left leading to a swirling shot from Kent which the Slavia keeper did well to clear.
Slavia are an athletic team and they started to stretch Rangers who were feeling the pressure – it was reversed somewhat in a move in which Kent put Aribo through into the box but his swirling shot was saved.
In the 89th minute Allan McGregor had a remarkable one handed save from a corner – the high ball went to the substitute Masopust whose powerful downward effort looked a certainty to go in at the keeper’s left post on for the Gers keeper to make a magnificent one-handed leap and save.
RANGERS: McGregor, Patterson, Goldson, Helander, Barisic, Kamara (Zungu, 88), Davis, Aribo (Roofe, 81), Hagi (Arfield, 63), Kent, Morelos.
SUBS: McLaughlin, Bassey, Itten, Wright, Stewart, Simpson, King.
SLAVIA PRAHA: Kolar, Holes, Bah, Zima, Stanciu (Lingr, 76), Olayinka (Masopust 45), Sima, Kudela, Kucta (Dorley, 72), Provod, Boril.
SUBS: Kovar, Vagner, Deli, Tecl, Hromada, Visinsky.