Sparta Prague 0-0 Rangers: Philippe Clement’s side survive first-half pressure to claim point

Sparta Prague v Rangers
Rangers had to weather spells of Sparta Prague pressure

Rangers emerged with a precious Europa League point from Prague after a testing night against Sparta.

In Philippe Clement’s first European game in charge, a tinkered Ibrox line-up toiled for a foothold in the Letna Stadion in the first half, with Jack Butland repeatedly keeping them level before the break.

Rangers’ brittle attack eventually conjured a cluster of late chances, but Sam Lammers and Danilo found Peter Vindahl in defiant form in the Sparta goal.

Real Betis defeated Aris Limassol 1-0 in Group C’s other game, to leave Rangers third on four points, level with Sparta.

Around 1200 Rangers fans were predicted to be at this one, but they weren’t rewarded with much to cheer about from their team in a fraught first half.

The opening period saw Rangers return an xG of just 0.02 as Butland had to be called upon at the other end. A double save thwarting Veljko Birmancevic and Qazim Laci was the pick of the bunch.

The latter also whistled a whizzing volley just past from the edge of the area, while John Lundstram’s last-ditch intervention prevented Martin Vitik tapping in a certain goal.

Table

The second half started in a similar fashion, with Abdallah Sima in an unfamiliar left wing-back position one of the few clicking for Rangers.

Indeed, it took until the 58th minute for Lundstram’s tame pot-shot at Vindahl to stand as his side’s first shot on target.

However, Rangers slowly began to come out more and could well have taken more from their jaunt to Prague.

Lammers’ curling shot was well saved by the Sparta keeper, and he had to be at his very best to acrobatically tip Danilo’s rasping shot on to the bar.

Player of the match – Abdallah Sima

Abdallah Sima
Stuck in an unfamiliar role, Sima had more duels – and won more – than any other Rangers player, applying himself well in what was a tough night for his team for long spells

Keep calm and carry on – analysis

The final 20 minutes put a slightly different sheen on this one. Up until then, it was a gruelling night for those travelling fans.

Rangers struggled to flex their creative muscle in the face of a Sparta side which grew with confidence with each attack. As half-time approached, it seemed just a matter of time before the visitors’ resistance would be broken.

However with their stoic stand came frustration for the hosts, who grew more ragged as the game wore on. As it transpired, it could have been even better for Rangers as they finished the game on top.

But a point, while denying Sparta two, could prove crucial. A late Betis goal stopped all four teams being locked on the same points at the halfway stage, such is the competitiveness of this section.

Rangers now have the comfort of two home games in their final three, and we know how pivotal those European nights in Govan have been in recent years.

What’s next?

Hearts visit Ibrox on Sunday (15:00 GMT), while Rangers’ next European outing comes on Thursday, 9 November (20:00 GMT) as Sparta come to Glasgow.

Line-ups

Sparta Prague

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Vindahl
  • 41Vitík
  • 27PanákBooked at 70mins
  • 25Sørensen
  • 2PreciadoSubstituted forWiesnerat 27′minutes
  • 20LaçiSubstituted forSadílekat 66′minutes
  • 6Kairinen
  • 32Rynes
  • 10KarabecSubstituted forOlatunjiat 65′minutes
  • 9Kuchta
  • 14BirmancevicSubstituted forPesekat 75′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Gomez
  • 7Olatunji
  • 8Pavelka
  • 18Sadílek
  • 19Mejdr
  • 21Pesek
  • 24Vorel
  • 26Vydra
  • 28Wiesner
  • 29Sevcík
  • 39Sejk
  • 44Surovcík

Rangers

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Butland
  • 2Tavernier
  • 5SouttarBooked at 26mins
  • 6GoldsonBooked at 63mins
  • 26Davies
  • 4Lundstram
  • 43Raskin
  • 13CantwellBooked at 17minsSubstituted forWrightat 64′minutes
  • 14Lammers
  • 19SimaBooked at 82mins
  • 9DessersSubstituted forPereira da Silvaat 74′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Jack
  • 23Wright
  • 28McCrorie
  • 32Wright
  • 38King
  • 44Devine
  • 45McCausland
  • 47Fraser
  • 48Lyall
  • 93McKinnon
  • 99Pereira da Silva

Referee:
Sascha Stegemann

Attendance:
18,250

Live Text

Player of the match

ButlandJack Butland

Sparta Prague

  1. Squad number41Player nameVitík

  2. Squad number1Player nameVindahl

  3. Squad number25Player nameSørensen

  4. Squad number32Player nameRynes

  5. Squad number2Player namePreciado

  6. Squad number9Player nameKuchta

  7. Squad number6Player nameKairinen

  8. Squad number20Player nameLaçi

  9. Squad number14Player nameBirmancevic

  10. Squad number10Player nameKarabec

  11. Squad number21Player namePesek

  12. Squad number18Player nameSadílek

  13. Squad number27Player namePanák

  14. Squad number28Player nameWiesner

  15. Squad number7Player nameOlatunji

Rangers

  1. Squad number1Player nameButland

  2. Squad number19Player nameSima

  3. Squad number5Player nameSouttar

  4. Squad number99Player nameDanilo

  5. Squad number43Player nameRaskin

  6. Squad number13Player nameCantwell

  7. Squad number26Player nameDavies

  8. Squad number4Player nameLundstram

  9. Squad number23Player nameWright

  10. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  11. Squad number2Player nameTavernier

  12. Squad number14Player nameLammers

  13. Squad number9Player nameDessers

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