Match ends, Sparta Prague 1, Rangers 0.
Glen Kamara was booed by home fans as 10-man Rangers were left bottom of group A with defeat away to Sparta Prague in the Europa League.
The Finn, who was racially abused six months ago by Ondrej Kudela of Sparta's rivals Slavia Prague, was singled out during the tie prior to his second yellow card on 74 minutes.
Sparta already led 1-0 at that point after David Hancko's first-half header, but Rangers struggled to impose themselves in their second group loss in a row.
Racism was a depressing backdrop to this game. The match was played in front of 10,000 children after Uefa relented on a stadium closure following racist chanting by Sparta fans towards Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said before the game he had "no apprehension" about the tie and had been assured "everything is going to be fine."
Despite that, the Finn was still booed by the young crowd.
On the pitch, it was a precarious trip for the Scottish champions. Both Prague clubs had got the better of Scottish opposition in recent years. Celtic were thrashed 4-1 home and away by Sparta last season, but star striker Lukas Julis - who scored five of those goals - was missing.
They still had obvious threats, though. A slip by Calvin Bassey allowed Jakub Pesek to aim for the roof of the net but Allan McGregor did well to palm it over.
And McGregor had to be alert again at his near post to block Martin Minchev's goal-bound shot, but he couldn't keep out Hancko's effort as Rangers' resistance was broken all too easily.
Slovakian Hancko, who had also scored against Celtic last season, got his head to a corner which bounced off the post and over the line.
Before that, Rangers had a brief flurry at the other end of the pitch but Fashion Sakala's low shot was their best effort.
It should have been 2-0 at the start of the second half when a through ball cut Rangers open within seconds. Adam Hlozek sped away, knocked the ball to Jakub Pesek who just had to add the finish, but inexplicably he lifted his shot onto the crossbar.
A minute later, Sakala put the ball in the net for Rangers, but it was ruled out for offside. At least Gerrard's men were at the end of the pitch they needed to be at. But at the back, the visitors were being carved open again.
Lukas Haraslin got between the two centre halves as McGregor got his foot to his shot. But there was little goalmouth action that followed and Rangers were still in the tie. That was until their hopes took a blow when Kamara was ordered off.
The Rangers midfielder, booked in the first half, was shown a second yellow card for leading with an elbow on Michal Sacek.
And yet, in an enthralling finish, Rangers could have stolen a point with two big opportunities.
James Tavernier's late run down the right went unchecked, but his cut-back couldn't find a team-mate.
After Sacek had spurned a chance at the other end, Rangers nearly made them pay when Sakala burst through one-on-one with the goalkeeper but had his shot saved.
And the grandstand finish continued with a flurry of late balls into the box, but nothing would fall for the Scots.
Man of the match - Martin Minchev
What did we learn?
Rangers' defensive issues are not new. Connor Goldson didn't fly with the squad, Filip Helander was also injured, Nikola Katic is out on loan and Jack Simpson has not been included in the Europa League squad.
It meant full-back Bassey had to be deployed in the centre of defence and it was a tough night for the 21-year-old.
Rangers are at home to Hibernian on Sunday in the Scottish Premiership (15:00 BST), while their next Europa League ties are a double header with Denmark's Brondby.
What the stats say
- Rangers are without a win in four straight Europa League games (D1 L3), after winning six and drawing two of the eight before that.
- Sparta Prague have kept consecutive clean sheets in European competition for the first time since a run of three in November 2016.
- Rangers have failed to score in three consecutive games in European competition (incl. qualifiers) for the first time since July 2011 (also a run of three).
- Sparta Prague defender Dávid Hancko's two Europa League goals have come against Scottish opposition; v Celtic in November 2020 and v Rangers tonight.
- 28WiesnerBooked at 43mins
- 20HlozekSubstituted forDockalat 90'minutes
- 22HaraslínBooked at 70minsSubstituted forMoberg-Karlssonat 75'minutes
- 11MinchevSubstituted forDrchalat 69'minutes
- 22BacunaSubstituted forHagiat 38'minutes
- 18KamaraBooked at 74mins
- 17AriboSubstituted forLundstramat 77'minutes
- 30SakalaBooked at 67mins
- 25RoofeSubstituted forMorelosat 66'minutes
- Ali Palabiyik
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sparta Prague 1, Rangers 0.
Foul by Ianis Hagi (Rangers).
Dávid Hancko (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Leon Balogun (Rangers) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Borna Barisic with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Tomás Wiesner.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Filip Panák.
Offside, Rangers. James Tavernier tries a through ball, but Fashion Sakala is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Michal Sacek (Sparta Prague) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Dávid Hancko with a cross.
Substitution, Sparta Prague. Borek Dockal replaces Adam Hlozek.
James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jakub Pesek (Sparta Prague).
Attempt saved. Jakub Pesek (Sparta Prague) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tomás Wiesner.
Hand ball by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).
Steven Davis (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adam Hlozek (Sparta Prague).
Foul by Fashion Sakala (Rangers).
Filip Panák (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Fashion Sakala (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ondrej Celustka (Sparta Prague).
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