Europa League - Qualifying Third Round - 1st Leg
FC Midtjylland2Rangers4

Midtjylland 2-4 Rangers: Steven Gerrard's side take two-goal lead to Ibrox

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Goals: Midtjylland 2-4 Rangers

Scott Arfield settled Rangers nerves in Denmark as they beat Midtjylland in an enthralling Europa League qualifier.

Alfredo Morelos, Joe Aribo and Nikola Katic had Steven Gerrard's side cruising before Frank Onyeka and Sory Kaba threatened to turn this third qualifying round first leg on its head.

Rangers were the better team, with Morelos' goal just before the break the lead their control merited. However, it took Arfield's calm finish 20 minutes from time to restore a two-goal advantage before next week's return.

Should they see the tie out at Ibrox, the Scottish Premiership side would face either Legia Warsaw or Atromitos in the play-off round, with those two drawing 0-0 in Poland in their first leg.

Tavernier instrumental in victory

For so long now, Tavernier has been a driving force within this Rangers team. An inspiring captain he may be, but his ability to cause chaos going forward was instrumental last season.

Over the previous campaign, the right-back garnered 17 goals and 20 assists, and his creativity and willingness to get forward made the difference in Denmark.

Two minutes before the interval it was his pinpoint cross from the right that unlocked a Midtjylland defence, marshalled by former Celtic centre-half Erik Sviatchenko, that just about looked capable of keeping Rangers at bay. The ball dropped perfectly on to the head of Morelos, the Colombian nodding under Jesper Hansen.

And it was Tavernier's neat pass that was the catalyst for his side's potentially crucial fourth, allowing Morelos to steer the ball back into Arfield's path. The Canada international was the coolest man in the place to roll it nonchalantly into the net.

Even as Rangers were rocking, Tavernier managed to steady a ship that was in danger of capsizing. How they managed to go to that from cruising will be the only cause for concern for manager Gerrard.

Tavernier graphic

Until that point, it was plain sailing. Midtjylland struggled with Rangers' pace all night and it was the lung-bursting speed of Jordan Jones that led to the second goal. The Northern Irishman marauded his way through the centre of the pitch on the counter before slipping a neat pass out to Aribo, and the 23-year-old scudded a low shot across Hansen and into the far corner.

In truth, there was quality in each of the Glasgow side's goals, with the unlikely figure of centre-half Katic arrowing a fine drive through a ruck of players to make it three as the hosts failed to clear their lines.

From there, it all very nearly fell apart. Almost instantly Onyeka failed to take advantage of a cutback six yards out, only to then be afforded enough time to compose himself, swivel and shuttle the ball beyond Allan McGregor. Then, just two minutes later Kaba's drive from the edge of the box brought the MCH Arena to its feet and Rangers hearts to sink.

However, thanks to Arfield's late intervention, the Scottish Premiership side will return home content in their night's work, and buoyed ahead of Thursday's return.

'Only negative is the sloppy goals' - analysis

Former Rangers striker Steven Thompson on Sportsound

The only negatives for Rangers are the goals they conceded, both of which were quite sloppy. But Rangers grew into the game and finished it very strongly. Jordan Jones was superb tonight - especially when you can carry the ball such a long distance.

BBC Scotland chief sportswriter Tom English on Sportsound

Rangers were ruthless tonight and their goals were outstanding. There were some brilliant individual performances. To go away from home and score four goals against a team we thought could be tricky, that was brilliant.

Line-ups

FC Midtjylland

  • 1Hansen
  • 3SparvSubstituted fordos Santos Júniorat 58'minutes
  • 6Andersson
  • 14Scholz
  • 10da Silva FerreiraBooked at 79mins
  • 9Kaba
  • 88WikheimSubstituted forAndersonat 58'minutes
  • 20NicolaisenBooked at 48minsSubstituted forMabilat 73'minutes
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 40Cajuste
  • 38Ogochukwu Onyeka

Substitutes

  • 7Poulsen
  • 8Okosun
  • 11Mabil
  • 25James
  • 31Andersen
  • 34Anderson
  • 74dos Santos Júnior

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 17AriboBooked at 88mins
  • 6Goldson
  • 15Flanagan
  • 19KaticBooked at 86mins
  • 8JackBooked at 79mins
  • 18Kamara
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted forDochertyat 82'minutes
  • 22JonesSubstituted forOjoat 82'minutes
  • 20MorelosBooked at 88mins

Substitutes

  • 4Edmundson
  • 9Defoe
  • 10Davis
  • 11Ojo
  • 13Foderingham
  • 23Docherty
  • 31Barisic
Referee:
Kristo Tohver
Attendance:
9,322

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 8th August 2019

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Leverkusen6411169713
2Zürich631276110
3AEK Larnaca6123612-65
4Ludogorets604257-24

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1RB Salzburg66001761118
2Celtic630368-29
3RB Leipzig62139817
4Rosenborg6015414-101

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Zenit St Petersburg632165111
2Slavia Prague631243110
3Bordeaux62136607
4FC Copenhagen612335-25

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Zagreb6420113814
2Fenerbahçe62227708
3Spartak Trnava621347-37
4Anderlecht603327-53

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal65101221016
2Sporting64111331013
3Vorskla Poltava6105413-93
4FK Qarabag6105213-113

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Betis633072512
2Olympiakos6312116510
3AC Milan6312129310
4F91 Dudelange6015316-131

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal6240125710
2Rapid Vienna631269-310
3Rangers61328806
4Spartak Moscow6123812-45

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Frankfurt66001751218
2Lazio6303911-29
3Apollon Limassol6213101007
4Marseille6015616-101

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1KRC Genk6321148611
2Malmö FF62317619
3Besiktas6213911-27
4Sarpsborg 086123813-55

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla64021861212
2FK Krasnodar640288012
3Standard Liege631279-210
4Akhisarspor6015414-101

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dynamo Kiev6321107311
2Rennes630378-19
3FC Astana62227708
4FK Jablonec612368-25

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea6510123916
2BATE Borisov63039909
3MOL Vidi621357-27
4PAOK Salonika6105512-73
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