Rangers had to wait for a decade to experience the prestigious Champions League football. They locked horns with Malmo this evening in the first leg of the third qualifying round and gaffer Steven Gerrard made a few changes to the starting XI that faced Livingston on Saturday afternoon.
Despite dominating the first half, the Gers were at sixes and sevens after the break. The hosts scored twice within a couple of minutes to stun the Glasgow giants, but a late strike from 36-year-old Steven Davis kept the draw alive ahead of next midweek’s Ibrox tie.
Below are the Rangers players rated in their 2-1 defeat against Malmo.
Allan McGregor: 5.5
Hardly had any trouble in the first half but was left stunned as he conceded twice in quick succession early into the second half.
James Tavernier: 5.5
Was decent with his usual overlapping runs and attacking contribution. However, the skipper must take the blame as his misplaced pass in his own half led to Veljko Birmančević’s goal.
Connor Goldson: 5
Was far from his best as he struggled one on one time and again. Lacked composure and concentration while conceding the second goal of the game.
Filip Helander: 7
The Swedish centre-half was solid against his boyhood club as he did his best to cover Goldson who had a nightmare in the second half.
Borna Barisic: 6
Clueless at times while defending deep. Disappointing from set-pieces, also his crosses from the left-hand flank offered little threat.
Steven Davis: 8
Tried to keep things under control in the middle of the park and switch it down the wide from his deep-lying role. Worked really hard to keep up the tempo and rescued the team from humiliation by finding the net in the closing seconds.
John Lundstram: 6
Played some smart one-twos to open up space, carried the ball forward to operate from the advanced areas, but his passing let him down on quite a few occasions.
Scott Arfield: 4.5
Failed to generate power with his shot early into the game, also found chasing the ball due to his lack of pace and predictable movements. Not at all impressive from a player of his experience.
Ryan Kent: 6.5
The substandard final balls let him down all throughout the outing. Played his part in the build-ups, operated from both the flanks, yet he could not beat past the opponents from in and around the box. Did one thing right by placing the ball for Davis in the dying moments of the match.
Scott Wright: 7.5
Looked lively once again with his pace, swift runs and smart footwork from the right-hand flank. Has done enough to cement his place in the starting lineup.
Cedric Itten: 5.5
Held the ball well to construct attacking moves. Was running out of ideas after the break and was taken off to be replaced by Sakala around the hour mark.
Rangers Substitutes Vs Malmo
Fashion Sakala: 5
Added pace and mobility compared to Itten but would need more time to settle in and attune to Gerrard’s game.