Europa League - Group A
Sparta PragueSparta Prague1RangersRangers0

Sparta Prague 1-0 Rangers: Glen Kamara booed by home crowd in Europa League defeat

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland
Sparta Prague's David Hancko (centre) celebrates his opener
Sparta Prague's David Hancko (centre) celebrates his first half goal

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

Sparta Prague's Martin Minchev (front) was impressive for the home side
Sparta Prague's Martin Minchev (front) was impressive for the home side

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.

What's next?

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.

Line-ups

Sparta Prague

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Nita
  • 28WiesnerBooked at 43mins
  • 27Panák
  • 3Celustka
  • 33Hancko
  • 16Sacek
  • 8Pavelka
  • 21Pesek
  • 20HlozekSubstituted forDockalat 90'minutes
  • 22HaraslínBooked at 70minsSubstituted forMoberg-Karlssonat 75'minutes
  • 11MinchevSubstituted forDrchalat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Gabriel
  • 7Moberg-Karlsson
  • 10Dockal
  • 14Drchal
  • 18Pulkrab
  • 19Stetina
  • 24Polidar
  • 29Heca
  • 32Vindheim
  • 36Karabec
  • 40Kotek
  • 41Vitík

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 26Balogun
  • 3Bassey
  • 31Barisic
  • 10Davis
  • 22BacunaSubstituted forHagiat 38'minutes
  • 18KamaraBooked at 74mins
  • 17AriboSubstituted forLundstramat 77'minutes
  • 30SakalaBooked at 67mins
  • 25RoofeSubstituted forMorelosat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Lundstram
  • 7Hagi
  • 16Patterson
  • 20Morelos
  • 23Wright
  • 27Kelly
  • 28McCrorie
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield
  • 63McClelland
Referee:
Ali Palabiyik
Attendance:
10,879

Match Stats

Home TeamSparta PragueAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home9
Away6
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home2
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sparta Prague 1, Rangers 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sparta Prague 1, Rangers 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Ianis Hagi (Rangers).

  4. Post update

    Dávid Hancko (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    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.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Tomás Wiesner.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Filip Panák.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Rangers. James Tavernier tries a through ball, but Fashion Sakala is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    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.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Sparta Prague. Borek Dockal replaces Adam Hlozek.

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Foul by Jakub Pesek (Sparta Prague).

  13. Post update

    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.

  14. Post update

    Hand ball by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

  15. Post update

    Steven Davis (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Adam Hlozek (Sparta Prague).

  17. Post update

    Foul by Fashion Sakala (Rangers).

  18. Post update

    Filip Panák (Sparta Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Fashion Sakala (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Ondrej Celustka (Sparta Prague).

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 30th September 2021

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Lyon22005056
2Sparta Prague21101014
3Brøndby IF201103-31
4Rangers200203-30

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSV Eindhoven21106334
2Monaco21102114
3Real Sociedad20203302
4SK Sturm Graz200215-40

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Legia Warsaw22002026
2Spartak Moscow21013303
3Napoli201145-11
4Leicester201123-11

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Olympiakos22005146
2Frankfurt21102114
3Fenerbahçe201114-31
4Royal Antwerp200213-20

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Galatasaray21101014
2Lazio21012113
3Marseille20201102
4Lokomotiv Moscow201113-21

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Red Star Belgrade22003126
2Sporting Braga21014313
3Ludogorets201112-11
4FC Midtjylland201124-21

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Leverkusen22006156
2Real Betis22007436
3Ferencvárosi TC200225-30
4Celtic200238-50

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Ham22004046
2Dinamo Zagreb21013213
3KRC Genk210113-23
4Rapid Vienna200203-30
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