Europa League - Round of 16 - 2nd Leg
RangersRangers0Slavia PragueSlavia Prague2

Rangers 0-2 Slavia Prague (1-3 agg): Steven Gerrard's side have two men sent off in exit

By Thomas DuncanBBC Scotland
Kemar Roofe was sent off for a high tackle on Slavia Prague's goalkeeper
Kemar Roofe was sent off for a high tackle on Slavia Prague's goalkeeper

Slavia Prague inflicted Rangers' first defeat at Ibrox in just over a year to knock the nine-man Scottish champions out of the Europa League.

Peter Olayinka's first-half header gave the Czech champions the lead following a 1-1 draw in Prague, and Nicolae Stanciu doubled the advantage after Leon Balogun was shown a second yellow.

Rangers were already down to 10 by then, Kemar Roofe having been sent off within six minutes of coming on for catching goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar in the face with his boot.

There was still time for further tumult in the closing minutes. A strong challenge by Connor Goldson precipitated a melee, and Ondrej Kudela uttered something to Glen Kamara while covering his mouth with a hand.

That enraged Rangers' players, with Kamara, Goldson and Bongani Zungu particularly incensed, and manager Steven Gerrard confirmed afterwards that Kamara told him he was racially abused, with other players also having heard the comments.

While Rangers will feel they could have shown more of themselves over the two legs of this last-16 tie, Slavia proved themselves the more accomplished side as they backed up their win over Leicester City in the previous round.

Having been rocked in the opening 45 minutes of the first leg - which came just four days after their Scottish Premiership title win - Rangers improved in the second half in Prague and carried that in to the opening exchanges at Ibrox.

However, it was the visitors who struck the away goal they craved after 14 minutes as their captain Jan Boril took advantage of the space afforded to him on the left to whip a cross to the near post, which Olayinka headed down and into the net.

Despite good long-range attempts by Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, Rangers were largely kept at arm's length and Balogun was fortunate not to give away a penalty right before half-time after he gifted away possession to the impressive Abdallah Sima.

It was symptomatic of the centre-back's sloppy display, and Gerrard will wonder if the result might have been any different had the composed Filip Helander not had a groin niggle and been fit enough to start.

As it was, both sides continued to play with intent but little composure in the opposition half as possession was regularly traded, and in the end the fate of the tie swung on the red cards.

Roofe was clearly just trying to win the ball, but his foot was so high as to be reckless, and Kolar's injury looked serious. The goalkeeper had to be replaced, but he returned to the bench for the closing moments after receiving treatment.

Rangers actually improved after the first sending off, keeping the ball far better, but Balogun's rash challenge added to their strife, and Stanciu's second stunning intervention of the tie ended things with 15 minutes left.

Man of the match - Abdallah Sima

Abdallah Sima showed an elegance in possession in both legs, gliding over the pitch and posing a serious threat
Sima showed an elegance in possession in both legs, gliding over the pitch and posing a serious threat

What did we learn?

This was Rangers first defeat in the Europa League this season, but unfortunately it came at a critical time. For the second season in a row, they have proved themselves an impressive side at this level, but have fallen at the last-16 stage again.

While last term they came up against a Bayer Leverkusen side who were clearly a class above, the frustration will be that Slavia - while a very well-coached team with plenty of talent - were beatable.

Despite a strong start, Rangers never got going with the two changes to the team from the first leg not paying off. Scott Arfield could not get across fast enough to shut down the cross for the opener and was careless in possession, while Balogun had a night to forget.

Overall, there are plenty of positives for Gerrard to take from this campaign. But he will also have plenty to ponder as they enter the Champions League third qualifying round in July, where they will have to overcome opponents such as Slavia if they are to reach the group stage.

Match stats

  • Rangers have now lost seven of their eight last-16 ties in the Europa League/Uefa Cup, only progressing against Werder Bremen in 2007-08.
  • Slavia earned their first win in Scotland (W1 L2) to reach the quarter finals of the Europa League/Uefa Cup for a fourth time (1995-96, 1999-00, 2018-19 & 2020-21).
  • This was Rangers first home defeat of the season, having been unbeaten in all 21 matches at Ibrox in all competitions (W20 D1).
  • Rangers had two players sent off in a single European game, excluding qualifiers, for the first time.
  • Slavia's Peter Oladeji Olayinka has been involved in five goals in his last nine appearances in Europe (3 goals, 2 assist), after 3 in 24 before that.

What's next?

With the title already in the bag, Rangers cross Glasgow to try to rub salt in the wounds of rivals Celtic in the third Old Firm derby of the season on Sunday (12:00 GMT).

Line-ups

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 16PattersonSubstituted forSimpsonat 78'minutes
  • 6GoldsonBooked at 89mins
  • 26BalogunBooked at 73mins
  • 31Barisic
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted forRoofeat 55'minutesBooked at 61mins
  • 10DavisSubstituted forIttenat 83'minutes
  • 18KamaraBooked at 38mins
  • 17AriboBooked at 86mins
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forWrightat 83'minutes
  • 14KentSubstituted forZunguat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 5Helander
  • 7Hagi
  • 11Itten
  • 15Zungu
  • 23Wright
  • 24Stewart
  • 25Roofe
  • 28Simpson
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 61King

Slavia Prague

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1KolarSubstituted forVágnerat 65'minutes
  • 5Bah
  • 15KudelaBooked at 89mins
  • 4DeliBooked at 56mins
  • 18Boril
  • 25HromadaSubstituted forHolesat 58'minutes
  • 17Provod
  • 19DorleyBooked at 35minsSubstituted forKuchtaat 58'minutes
  • 7StanciuSubstituted forLingrat 90'minutes
  • 9Oladeji OlayinkaSubstituted forMasopustat 58'minutes
  • 12Sima

Substitutes

  • 3Holes
  • 11Tecl
  • 16Kuchta
  • 28Masopust
  • 31Kovar
  • 32Lingr
  • 34Vágner
  • 41Višinský
Referee:
Orel Grinfeld

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamSlavia Prague
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home7
Away6
Shots on Target
Home1
Away4
Corners
Home3
Away6
Fouls
Home21
Away18

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Rangers 0, Slavia Prague 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Rangers 0, Slavia Prague 2.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Scott Wright (Rangers).

  4. Post update

    Ondrej Lingr (Slavia Prague) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Bongani Zungu.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Glen Kamara.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jan Boril.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Slavia Prague. Ondrej Lingr replaces Nicolae Claudiu Stanciu.

  9. Booking

    Ondrej Kudela (Slavia Prague) is shown the yellow card.

  10. Booking

    Connor Goldson (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Connor Goldson (Rangers).

  12. Post update

    Jan Kuchta (Slavia Prague) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Booking

    Joe Aribo (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Joe Aribo (Rangers).

  15. Post update

    Jan Boril (Slavia Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Scott Wright replaces Alfredo Morelos.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Cedric Itten replaces Steven Davis.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Bongani Zungu replaces Ryan Kent.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alexander Bah (Slavia Prague) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Lukas Masopust following a corner.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Glen Kamara.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 18th March 2021

Top Stories