Europa League - Group G
RangersRangers2FC PortoFC Porto0

Rangers 2-0 Porto: Steven Gerrard's men move closer to Europa League last 32

By Scott MullenBBC Sport Scotland
Alfredo Morelos
Alfredo Morelos started off the scoring at Ibrox on 69 minutes

Two goals in four second-half minutes earned Rangers a rousing victory over Porto to surge closer to the Europa League knockout stages.

Little separated Steven Gerrard's men and last year's Champions League quarter-finalists before Alfredo Morelos and Steven Davis crashed in strikes at a raucous Ibrox.

The result means Rangers sit joint top of Group G along side Young Boys of Switzerland with two games remaining, while Porto and Feyenoord are three points behind.

It was yet another showing of strength in Europe under Gerrard, who has only lost three times - and never at Ibrox - across 26 matches in continental competition.

Rangers, who drew 1-1 with Porto two weeks ago, now go to Rotterdam on 28 November before welcoming Young Boys to Ibrox two weeks later in their final group game.

Rangers deliver another European message

Sitting contently at the top table in the Estadio do Dragao media room two weeks earlier, the Rangers manager beamed about what he had just witnessed from his team.

Fielding questions from the assembled journalists, Gerrard could not hide his pride after Morelos' equaliser had cancelled out Luis Diaz's opener to keep Rangers in the hunt in this group. "I think that was our best performance in Europe for large parts," he said. "I'm not going to get carried away but that is a big point."

While this showing, particularly in the first half, may not have been Rangers' best, the devastation wreaked on one of Europe's big names in a ruthless second half may well be causing some of the club's support to be reaching for the 'let's get carried away' button.

Not for the first time, Rangers faced a daunting task under a dark sky in Govan, only to send a household name away beleaguered and bemused into the chilled night. Spartak Moscow. Villarreal. Legia Warsaw. Feyenoord. And now Porto. All have come to Glasgow, all sent away again without even scoring a goal.

Plenty has been made of the European ties across the city at Celtic Park. And rightly so. Yet there is something fascinating about watching Rangers on these evenings. For a group largely untested at this level prior to last year, there is a swagger and courage to their play.

Against Sergio Conceicao's men, they survived an early scare to at least make the first half competitive, before fearlessly dictating the play once they had their noses in front.

Table

Gerrard stuck with the same team which caused Porto so many problems in Portugal, although they were forced to ride their luck in the opening stages, Glen Kamara showing his acrobatic side to clear Pepe's glanced effort off the goal line. Conor Goldson would smash a ball clear in the second half, as well.

At the other end, Rangers struggled to show composure in the final third, a mixture of shots and crosses nestling somewhere in the Broomloan Road end. But after the break, flickering moments hinted at a spark coming with Pepe going off early for the visitors.

Ryan Kent was proving to be a nuisance. Past one player he turned. Then another. Then came the shot from the edge of the area. The save by Agustin Marchesin triggered a corner and rumble of hope in the stands.

And then the moment came. Courageous play from James Tavernier on the right led to the ball being nudged to Ryan Jack. Rangers' man of the moment did not fail, his cross from the right finding its target. Morelos allowed it to run across his body at the edge of the area with the merest of first touches.

As Ibrox held its breath, his left foot met the ball on the half volley just before it floated out of reach to arrow a shot across Marchesin and in. Ibrox erupted. Morelos roared back in a primal outpouring of emotion.

If one nearly lifted the roof, the second moments later almost launched it into orbit.

Morelos was the provider, this time out on the left. A pinpoint cutback was gathered 20 yards out by Davis. The Northern Irishman launched an effort on target, but the telling nick off of Ivan Marcano - the man who was rolled for the first - sent the ball careering by the stranded Porto goalkeeper.

There was nowhere for Porto to go. No way of Rangers letting this one slip. Another big European night at Ibrox. Now on to Feyenoord, and another foreign experience for Gerrard to potentially savour.

Steven Gerrard graphic

Man of the match - Alfredo Morelos

It seems like an easy option, but with a goal and an assist, there is only one winner.

There was plenty industry in the middle of the park, particularly from Davis and Jack, with the latter continuing to embrace life at Ibrox this season.

Again, though, it was Morelos' intervention that turned this game on its head. He earned Rangers a point in Portugal, and it was his clinical ability to create space and guide his volley at goal that set the teams apart in Glasgow.

That's 11 goals in Europe this season. While Gerrard says he's not for sale, Rangers' resolve may well be tested soon enough.

Match stats

  • Rangers have lost just one of their last 12 games in Europe, winning eight and drawing three
  • FC Porto are winless in their last eight Europa League away games (D2 L6), having won each of their previous six on the road before that
  • Rangers have registered seven clean sheets in their last eight home games in Europe, shipping just one goal in that period
  • Morelos is the first player to score in three consecutive appearances in major European competition for Rangers since Nacho Novo in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup
  • Davis netted his first goal in competitive club football since scoring for Southampton against Everton in the Premier League in November 2017 - 711 days ago.

Line-ups

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 5Helander
  • 31BarisicBooked at 31mins
  • 8Jack
  • 10Davis
  • 18Kamara
  • 21BarkerSubstituted forArfieldat 65'minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forDefoeat 85'minutes
  • 14KentSubstituted forAriboat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Edmundson
  • 9Defoe
  • 11Ojo
  • 13Foderingham
  • 15Flanagan
  • 17Aribo
  • 37Arfield

FC Porto

  • 32Marchesín
  • 18Manafá Jancó
  • 19Mbemba
  • 3PepeSubstituted forDíazat 49'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 5Marcano
  • 13Telles
  • 25OtávioBooked at 39minsSubstituted forSoares Silvaat 74'minutes
  • 22DaniloBooked at 37mins
  • 16Uribe
  • 17JM Corona
  • 29Francisco SoaresSubstituted forMendes Andradeat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Almeida Costa
  • 7Díaz
  • 10Nakajima
  • 20Mendes Andrade
  • 24Saravia
  • 31Meireles Costa
  • 49Soares Silva
Referee:
Davide Massa
Attendance:
49,645

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamFC Porto
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home8
Away10
Shots on Target
Home3
Away1
Corners
Home6
Away6
Fouls
Home13
Away17

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Rangers 2, FC Porto 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Rangers 2, FC Porto 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Rangers. Borna Barisic tries a through ball, but Jermain Defoe is caught offside.

  4. Booking

    Luis Díaz (FC Porto) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Scott Arfield (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Luis Díaz (FC Porto).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Steven Davis (Rangers).

  8. Post update

    Iván Marcano (FC Porto) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Joe Aribo (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Luis Díaz (FC Porto).

  11. Post update

    Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Luis Díaz (FC Porto).

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Zé Luís (FC Porto) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Alex Telles with a cross following a corner.

  14. Post update

    Corner, FC Porto. Conceded by Connor Goldson.

  15. Post update

    Corner, FC Porto. Conceded by James Tavernier.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Jermain Defoe replaces Alfredo Morelos.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Zé Luís (FC Porto) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Corona with a cross.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Connor Goldson (Rangers).

  19. Post update

    Luis Díaz (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 7th November 2019

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla44001221012
2Apoel Nicosia411278-14
3FK Qarabag411278-14
4F91 Dudelange4103715-83

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Copenhagen41304316
2Dynamo Kyiv41303216
3Malmö FF41213305
4Lugano402213-22

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Basel4310103710
2Getafe42024406
3FK Krasnodar420268-26
4Trabzonspor401338-51

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting43017439
2LASK42116337
3PSV Eindhoven42118717
4Rosenborg400418-70

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic431073410
2CFR Cluj43014319
3Lazio410357-23
4Rennes401325-31

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal4310113810
2Standard Liege420257-26
3Frankfurt420246-26
4Vitória Guimarães401337-41

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Young Boys42116427
2Rangers42115327
3Feyenoord411234-14
4FC Porto411236-34

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Espanyol4310101910
2Ludogorets42028806
3Ferencvárosi TC412124-25
4CSKA Moscow401318-71

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1KAA Gent42209638
2Wolfsburg41217705
3Saint-Étienne403167-13
4Oleksandria403157-23

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Istanbul Basaksehir42115507
2B Mgladbach412147-35
3Roma41217435
4RZ Pellets WAC41125504

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting Braga431084410
2Wolves43014229
3Slovan Bratislava41127704
4Besiktas4004410-60

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man Utd431050510
2AZ Alkmaar4220132118
3Partizan Belgrade411247-34
4FC Astana4004114-130
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