Europa League

Red Star Belgrade 2-1 Rangers (Agg 2-4): Player ratings as Gers seal last eight place

Craig Vickers
Kent and Tavernier celebrate
Kent and Tavernier celebrate / Srdjan Stevanovic/GettyImages
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Rangers sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 4-2 aggregate victory over Red Star Belgrade despite succumbing to an injury time 2-1 defeat in the last 16 second leg.

It was the worst possible start for Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side as they fell behind inside nine minutes. Red Star worked the short corner and, when Alfredo Morelos missed his header in the middle of the six-yard box, Mirko Ivanic controlled and fired beyond Allan McGregor.

The hosts had the chance to double their lead just two minutes later when the goalscorer Ivanic was sent through by Aleksandar Katai, but McGregor was equal down low to the midfielder's effort.

Rangers fashioned their first sight at goal in the 20th minute when Morelos was fed by Glen Kamara on the break, although the Colombian's finish trickled inches wide of the far post.

McGregor was called into action once again on the stroke of the interval, flying to tip Cristiano Piccini's effort over the crossbar after a meek challenge from Ryan Jack on the edge of the area.

The Serbians started the second half in the same vein as the opening period. Guelor Kanga's wicked corner was touched away by McGregor, before Ohi Omoijuanfo had the goal at his mercy but chose to square the ball to Ivanic, only for the pass to be overhit.

Rangers then punished their opponent's profligacy in the 55th minute to level on the evening. Ryan Kent played a gorgeous give-and-go with Kamara before exploding away from Piccini. The winger stalled his momentum before his sidefooted effort was deflected beyond the Red Star goalkeeper by a diving Aleksandar Dragovic.

The home side continued to pour forward in an attempt to restore their lead. Kanga was left with his head in his hands when McGregor spilled Sekou Sanogo's bobbling strike, but the midfielder merely diverted his effort straight back to the Rangers No.1.

The dangerous Katai continued to probe for Red Star , but it was Rangers who had the chance to take the lead in the dying embers of the contest. Kemar Roofe was released in behind by Kent, but the forward was denied by a diving stop at his near post from Milan Borjan.

Red Star were then awarded a spot-kick in injury time after Kamara fouled Filippo Falco. El Fardou Ben Nabouhane dispatched the resulting penalty, but it was too little, too late from the Serbian side.

Here's how the Light Blues rated as they sealed their place in the last eight of the competition for the first time since 2008.


Rangers player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Allan McGregor
McGregor collects the ball / Srdjan Stevanovic/GettyImages

Allan McGregor (GK) - 9/10 - Another huge performance on the European stage from the former Scotland international, becoming the oldest goalkeeper ever to make 10+ saves in a Europa League match.

James Tavernier (RB) - 6/10 - As ever, looked incredibly dangerous when he reached the final third, but he was rarely afford the chance to gallop forward.

Connor Goldson (CB) - 7/10 - Defended his penalty box impressively well, anticipating the danger from Red Star Belgrade when it unfolded.

Leon Balogun (CB) - 7/10 - Weak in a few aerial challenges, but he swept up well in the defensive third when required.

Calvin Bassey (LB) - 6/10 - Rarely ventured forward, but he was robust in his defensive duels to limit the Red Star Belgrade threat.

2. Midfielders

Glen Kamara, Sekou Sanogo
Kamara competes for the ball / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

Ryan Jack (CM) - 5/10 - These are the games where the midfielder usually thrives, but he looked slightly off the pace from a physical perspective.

John Lundstram (CM) - 9/10 - Looked for the diagonal ping to Kent every time for Rangers, marshalling the midfield with authority on both sides of the ball. Stellar display.

Glen Kamara (AM) - 6/10 - For the most part he looked an awkward fit in a more advanced, No.10 position, but his return pass to Kent in the lead up to his goal was perfectly weighted. Very unfortunate to concede the injury time penalty.

3. Forwards

Ryan Kent
Kent celebrates his strike / Srdjan Stevanovic/GettyImages

Joe Aribo (RW) - 5/10 - Played on the margins when Rangers had the ball, although he was diligent in his defensive work.

Alfredo Morelos (ST) - 5/10 - Ought to have done better in the penalty area at the corner which led to Red Star Belgrade's opener. Lacked conviction in the attacking moments which were created for him before he was forced off with a hamstring problem.

Ryan Kent (LW) - 6/10 - Continually found the spaces and, after a wasteful first half, punished Red Star Belgrade with a driving run and finish ten minutes after the interval.

4. Substitutes

James Sands (CM) - 5/10 - Steeled up the midfield line and allowed Lundstram to use his qualities in the defensive line.

Scott Arfield (RW) - 5/10 - Added fresh legs at a crucial time for the away side.

Kemar Roofe (ST) - N/A

Borna Barisic (LB) - N/A

Scott Wright (LW) - N/A

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