Rangers paid the value for one more second-half capitulation as 10-man Malmo dashed their Champions League qualification hopes and relegated the Scottish champions to the Europa League with a 2-1 (4-2 on combination) win at Ibrox.
Rangers, trailing 2-1 from the primary leg, appeared properly heading in the right direction to progress into the Champions League play-offs when Alfredo Morelos’ header levelled the tie on 19 minutes, earlier than Bonke Harmless’s slightly harsh dismissal for 2 bookable offences on the stroke of half-time left the hosts with a person benefit.
However, simply as they did in final week’s first leg in Sweden, a sloppy begin to the second half value Rangers expensive as two medical finishes from striker Antonio Colak turned the sport and the tie on its head within the house of 4 minutes.
Malmo’s exceptional turnaround left the near-capacity crowd, inside Ibrox for the primary time since March 2020, and Steven Gerrard’s gamers, shell-shocked, and there was no approach again because the Swedish champions sealed a play-off tie with Ludogorets.
Rangers, who’ve now misplaced three video games in a row after Saturday’s league defeat to Dundee United, face one other season of Europa League soccer however should overcome both FC Kairat Almaty or Alashkert FC within the play-offs to keep away from dropping into the inaugural Europa Convention League.
Rangers: McGregor (5), Tavernier (5), Goldson (5), Balogun (5), Barisic (6), Davis (6), Aribo (6), Arfield (5), Wright (5), Morelos (6), Kent (5).
Subs: Hagi (5), Sakala (5).
Malmo: Dahlin (6), Lewicki (6), Ahmedhodzic (6), Nielsen (6), Moisander (6), Veljko (6), Harmless (3), Christiansen (6), Rieks (7), Colak (9), Berget (6).
Subs: Rakip (5), Beijmo (n/a), Abubakari (n/a).
Man of the Match: Antonio Colak
Champions League hopes slip by means of Rangers’ fingers
Morelos, restored to the Rangers beginning line-up after lacking the primary leg, set the tone for a relentless begin from the hosts, harassing and harrying the Malmo defence and presenting Joe Aribo with the sport’s first opening inside three minutes, which was deflected behind for a nook.
The fever-pitched ambiance inside Ibrox reached a crescendo on 18 minutes when a fast free-kick led to Ryan Kent’s in-swinging cross reaching the top of Morelos, who stooped to go in his 24th European aim for the membership, regardless of goalkeeper Johan Dahlin getting a hand to the ball.
Allan McGregor, Leon Balogun, Scott Arfield and Scott Wright returned as Rangers made 4 modifications from the Scottish Premiership at Dundee United.
Counterpart Allan McGregor within the Rangers aim was lucky solely to see yellow after he was adjudged to have dealt with the ball exterior the realm, with the incident swinging momentum in Malmo’s favour having spent the opening 34 minutes on the again foot.
Colak guided a free header over the bar as Malmo lastly got here out of their shell and confirmed glimpses of their kind which noticed them prevail within the first leg, however simply as they appeared to have reached the interval with out sustaining additional injury, the tie tipped again in the direction of Rangers.
Midfielder Harmless, booked 4 minutes earlier, was proven a harsh second yellow for a excessive problem on Connor Goldson, a choice which left supervisor Jon Dahl Tomasson incensed and handed the numerical benefit to Rangers.
The platform was there for Rangers to place the tie to mattress within the second interval, however they have been surprised inside eight minutes of the restart when Veljko Birmancevic’s good reverse cross performed in Colak, who fired emphatically previous McGregor from the angle.
4 minutes after restoring their first-leg benefit Malmo struck once more, as Colak drifted effortlessly previous the stationary Leon Balogun, swivelled, and rifled his second previous McGregor.
It left Rangers needing to attain two unanswered objectives to salvage their Champions League marketing campaign however, regardless of coming below intense stress, Malmo stood agency, proscribing the hosts to a solitary blocked Morelos shot earlier than Rangers’ problem lastly ended amid a refrain of boos at Ibrox.
What the supervisor stated…
Rangers supervisor Steven Gerrard: “By way of our efficiency, it was actually a sport of two halves. I assumed we have been actually good within the first-half and began the sport ever so properly.
“The group have been terrific and we now have gone in at half-time precisely the place we wished to be. We have got two restarts within the second-half badly flawed from throw-in conditions.
“At this degree, good gamers and respectable groups damage you and that is what occurred tonight.”
‘Each expectation Rangers would win’
Sky Sports activities’ Kris Boyd:
“Rangers at half-time, with that man benefit, the aim, profitable the sport and degree within the tie, you’d anticipate them to come back out [and win], however to be trustworthy, Malmo have plenty of skilled gamers of their staff and so they wanted it.
“Colak up entrance scored two improbable objectives, however the second, there is no excuse for it from Leon Balogun. It is from a throw-in and he is obtained to have somebody in entrance, defending him. As quickly because it’s performed into Colak, he turns and Joe Aribo tries to get again nevertheless it’s a improbable flip and end.
“Rangers did not create a lot within the second half. They appear to be a staff that huffed and puffed for almost all.”
Rangers host Dunfermline within the second spherical of the Scottish League Cup on Friday at 7.30pm, earlier than travelling to Ross County within the Scottish Premiership the next Saturday at 3pm.