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Slow, slow, slow, quick from Porto as the home side knock it about languidly then suddenly burst forward as Corona swings in a peach of a cross from the right. Ze Luis gets his head on it but can only steer the ball wide from a promising position. An early warning for Rangers…
BBC Scotland in Portugal
The chat among the Portuguese journalists is that they
expect Rangers to be physical, combative in midfield but ultimately short of
the class to beat Porto on their own patch.
The Rangers fans are packed into one half of the top
tier. They have been creating quite a din in the old town down by the river,
clearly enjoying the city in the past two days. The locals seem less enthused
by the fixture – the home stands are no more
than a quarter full.
The first corner of the evening goes the way of the hosts after a run from full-back Telles. Connor Goldson heads clear and Ryan Kent is off and running deep into Porto territory. The winger just runs out of steam near the home penalty box, with a defender stepping across him to clear.
Former Hearts & Rangers winger on BBC Sportsound
Quote Message: To counter-attack effectively you need speed, and that’s why Barker is in the starting line-up. He’s very direct, and with Kent as well it gives Rangers that speed in transition. I don’t think it’s outwith the realms of possibility that Rangers get a result tonight.
To counter-attack effectively you need speed, and that’s why Barker is in the starting line-up. He’s very direct, and with Kent as well it gives Rangers that speed in transition. I don’t think it’s outwith the realms of possibility that Rangers get a result tonight.
Brandon Barker is wide on the right for now. Both Rangers winger are probably more comfortable on the left and I’m sure there will be a bit of switching to and fro
Here we go. Rangers in red, with white socks. The stadium is more than half empty, which is very disappointing, although the Rangers fans are making a right old racket.
Some more fromRangers manager Steven Gerrard speaking to BT Sport:“Individual errors get punished at this level so we need to eradicate those and, in important times in the match, we need to manage the game better to get us over the line.”
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard speaking to BT Sport:“We’ve got to be organised, have a structure and be hard to play against. Porto have to feel us. We’ve got to be aggressive in our defending and when our opportunities come, our ball carriers need to get us up the pitch and try to create. We’ve got some speed in there, some one-v-one merchants, but I’m really excited to see how they play. We shouldn’t have too much respect for them. We know they are a good team and have good players but so have we and we’ve come here to take something from the game.”
Journalist Ben Palmer’s snap of the home sections in Portugal hint that tonight will be far from a sell-out crowd.
Former Rangers striker on Sportsound
Quote Message: James Tavernier will have to defend better. He cost Rangers both goals in Switzerland. He cost them the goal on Sunday. He’s supposed to set a standard as the Rangers captain and that’s not always the case with him. He’s a good player but we all know defending is not his strong point.
James Tavernier will have to defend better. He cost Rangers both goals in Switzerland. He cost them the goal on Sunday. He’s supposed to set a standard as the Rangers captain and that’s not always the case with him. He’s a good player but we all know defending is not his strong point.
Former Rangers winger on BBC Sportsound
Quote Message: Home wins are going to be so important in this group, so it’s a bit of a gamble going with Morelos tonight. If he is booked, he will miss the return game at Ibrox
Home wins are going to be so important in this group, so it’s a bit of a gamble going with Morelos tonight. If he is booked, he will miss the return game at Ibrox
Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos is another
red hot striker, with nine of his 15 goals this term coming in
Standing in his way
tonight is Pepe, a master of the dark arts with
three Champions League winners’ medals from his time at Real Madrid.
He’s 36 these days but the vastly experienced defender still presents a formidable barrier.
“There will be a lot
of really intriguing key battles across the pitch but I’m sure all eyes will be
on that one,” said Rangers manager Steven Gerrard at yesterday’s media
Odsonne Edouard is a striker bang in
form, with 10 goals already this season.
Lazio sporting director Igli Tare
has previously revealed his admiration for the 21-year-old Frenchman but boss
Simone Inzaghi insists there is a lot more to Celtic.
Inzaghi said: “Celtic has lots of
great players. Just as good as he is up front, they have other good players who
are on the wings, great players in defence where they are nice and physical and
they even have a good goalkeeper who has played in the Premier League.”
Former Rangers winger on BBC Sportsound
Quote Message: I’m a bit surprised that Brandon Barker is starting but he does have real pace and he carries the ball well. Rangers obviously plan to hit Porto on the counter.
I’m a bit surprised that Brandon Barker is starting but he does have real pace and he carries the ball well. Rangers obviously plan to hit Porto on the counter.
Porto boss Sergio Conceiçaowas a very nifty player
in his day, speeding down the wing for the Dragons as well as Lazio, Parma and
You may remember him scoring a hat-trick for Portugal against Germany at Euro 2000.
The 44-year-old returned to the Estadio do Dragao in 2017 and immediately led them to the tile, ending a
On this fixture he said: “Rangers are a team who play
like they do traditionally in Scotland, with good fight and aggression and a
“They are strong in these
moments when you fight for the second balls, but when you talk of duelling and
second balls people sometimes misunderstand that they are not playing football.
“It depends on the team’s
strategy, principles and dynamics because playing in a more direct way can be
positive if it is properly considered.
“Rangers’ strategy is designed
for this. We observed some matches where they have more space and they occupy
the space properly in a very interesting way. If we are passive in defence we
will have a lot of problems. But we are prepared for these scenarios.”
Copyright: Getty Images
“We have to find a performance that’s
close to our best to take something, we are well aware of that,” saidRangers manager Steven Gerrardyesterday.
think this is an arena or fixture where you can come and perform below par. If
we have got any ambition to take anything away from this, whether it’s a win or
a point, we have to max out, that’s in and out of possession.
have belief in the players that we can find that because coming to a place like
this, an arena that has the wow factor, a pitch that’s perfect, against an
opposition that all the players will have huge respect for, more often than not
that’s when you can find your performance.”
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has a winning record against Porto. The former Liverpool captain was on target in a 4-1 win at
Anfield in the 2007-08 Champions League group stage and featured in a
2-0 aggregate success against the same opponents in the 2000-01 Uefa Cup
Porto are Champions League group regulars – they reached the last eight last year season – so
what are they doing here?
The Dragons suffered a shock defeat by Krasnodar in the third
qualifying round, winning the first leg in Russia 1-0 but losing the home
return 3-2 after being three goals down at half-time.
It’s only the second time they have been in the Europa League
group phase since the tournament was given a makeover 10 years ago. The first
time was in 2010-11 and they only went on to lift the trophy…
Celtic lead the way in Group E after a draw in
Rennes and a revenge victory over Cluj, who bundled them out of Champions
League qualifying. However, Lazio and the Romanians are just a point behind.
How seriously are Lazio taking this tournament?
We’ll see when the team lines are announced. Even if some stars are rested
before a weekend visit to Fiorentina, the Rome club have a squad packed with international
talent and some seriously dangerous forwards.
All four teams in Group G are locked on three
points, with Rangers and Porto opening with home victories then slipping
up on the road. The Ibrox men will be kicking themselves after shipping a late
goal in a 2-1 loss to Young Boys but they can’t afford to dwell on that as they
go into a very tough double-header with the big-spending Portuguese.
Young Boys host Feyenoord this evening.