Rangers 0-0 Spartak Moscow: Steven Gerrard’s side labour to goalless draw but remain unbeaten in Europa League
- Rangers denied late penalty claim after Eros Grezda was brought down late on
- But home side otherwise struggled to kick on after dominant first half display
- Steven Gerrard’s side joint top of Europa League Group G at halfway point
Steven Gerrard will not be celebrating this club record after a frustrating night at Ibrox.
His side are now unbeaten in 11 matches in Europe this season – the longest sequence in their history – but Gerrard knows this was two points dropped.
Spartak’s form – eight defeats in nine away from home on the continent – made this Rangers’ easiest group fixture, at least in theory.
Rangers’ Lassana Coulibaly reacts after missing a chance to score against Spartake Moscow
Rangers’ Eros Grezda sees his effort saved as the home side wasted opportunites
Connor Goldson (left) heads an effort towards goal as the home side pressed for victory
The visitors, however, appeared inspired by the sacking of manager Massimo Carrera earlier this week, especially as a player revolt had led to his exit.
Rangers were aggressive and on the front foot from the off but were met with a wall of Russian resistance.
Spartak certainly did not look like they needed John Terry, who was all set to sign before his retirement last month.
Rangers and Villarreal top Group G at the halfway point following their unbeaten starts
Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos (centre) speaks with an assistant referee after an incident in the box
Spartak Moscow’s Lorenzo Melgarejo (left) tackles Rangers’ Daniel Candeias at Ibrox
Steven Gerrard looks on from the touchline during his side’s showing against Spartak
RANGERS (4-3-3): McGregor, Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Flanagan, Ejaria, Jack (Grezda), Coulibaly, Candeias (Middleton), Morelos, Kent.
Subs not used: Foderingham, Grezda, Halliday, Katic, Lafferty, Ross McCrorie.
Yellow cards: Morelos, Candeias.
Manager: Steven Gerrard.
SPARTAK MOSCOW (4-3-3): Maksimenko, Rasskazov, Bocchetti, Dzhikija, Melgarejo, Ignatov (Popov), Fernando, Zobnin, Lomovitskiy (Eremenko), Ze Luis, Tashaev (Hanni).
Subs not used: Rebrov, Roman Kutepov, Petkovic, Timofeev.
Yellow cards: Dzhikija, Fernando.
Manager: Raul Ruiz Gonzalez Riancho.
Referee: Kevin Blom (Holland).
It took until the 43rd minute for Liverpool loanee Ryan Kent to test the goalkeeper, and even then his 20-yard strike never looked net-bound.
There had been moments of promise earlier in the half – that much was inevitable given their dominance – but the hosts lacked quality in their final ball.
Daniel Candeias broke free in the area and should have landed on the unmarked brow of Lassana Coulibaly only to lift his cross infuriatingly too high for his team-mate.
If that delivery had too much on it, then the same could not be said of James Tavernier’s corners, each of which failed to beat the man at the near post.
Expert penalty-taker he may be – seven of his eight goals this season have arrived from the spot – but the captain’s crossing from set-pieces was wasteful.
Rangers’ accuracy improved after the break and both Alfredo Morelos and Candeias drew panicked saves from Aleksandr Maksimenko with low efforts from range.
Striker Morelos then turned provider with a low blast across goal but Coulibaly was a stud’s length away from turning in at the far post, much to the anguish of the home crowd.
They and the manager again had their heads buried in hands when, with the final kick of the game, substitute Eros Grezda blazed over having been teed up by Kent from 12 yards.
It had been that sort of night for Gerrard and his side.
Rangers players line up before their Europa League clash with Spartak Moscow at Ibrox
Rangers fans inside the stadium before the match show support for their side
The home fans displayed an impressive mosaic supporting their side prior to kick-off
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