Rangers keep up Europa League home record with win over Sparta Prague

Danilo and Todd Cantwell were on target for Rangers at Ibrox.

Rangers have continued their impressive Europa League record of recent seasons with a 2-1 victory over Sparta Prague in Glasgow.

The wins puts them into second place in the table with two wins and a draw from four games and continues Philippe Clement’s unbeaten start.

The Belgian has now won five and drew one from his opening six games since replacing Michael Beale as manager last month.

Ibrox has become a bit of a fortress in the Europa League with Rangers now undefeated in their last nine home games in the competition, recording eight wins and drawing one.

And their only draw came against Borussia Dortmund on their road to the final of the competition in 2022 in a game where they had a 4-2 lead from the first leg.

They have only lost three games from their last 33 home Europa League games, including qualifiers, winning 23 and drawing seven since 2017.

Fifty-thousand fans packed into stadium again hoping for more of the same, and they had an early goal to celebrate when Danilo put them 1-0 up after 12 minutes.

The Brazilian forward pounced on a slack pass back from Gomez and slotted it past Sparta keeper Vindahl-Jensen to give the home side the lead.

Gomez nearly made up for his error a few minutes later when his looping header was knocked over the bar by Jack Butland as the visitors tried to get themselves even.

But Rangers quickly got themselves back up the park and doubled their lead through Cantwell who scored his first goal of the season to make it 2-0 with only 20 minutes on the clock.

Lundstram started the move with a long ball to Sima who threaded it through to the former Norwich midfielder and he wrong footed the defender before calmly slotting it into the net.

Sparta were starting to look shell-shocked and Vindahl called his team-mates into a group meeting at the centre-circle before restarting the game.

The Czech champions looked better in the second-half as they looked to get themselves game and a lot of early possession and carved out a couple of good chances.

But as the minutes ticked away they were still two goals behind and realistically not looking likely to take anything from the game.

Clement made his first change of the game as he replaced Cantwell with Ross McCausland on the hour mark.

Lukas Haraslin threw the visitors a lifeline when he got one back to make it 2-1 with just over ten-minutes to go.

Before the away fans had finished celebrating it looked as though Danilo had killed any hope they had when he put the ball into the net following a tangle with the defender, but the referee was called over to the VAR monitor to check the incident and decided the goal wouldn’t stand.

Rangers held out for the win and are now in second place in the group with two games remaining, three ahead of Sparta in third and two behind Real Betis who they will play in the final game.

A win over bottom team Limassol at Ibrox will guarantee a place in the Europa League knockout stages and European football after Christmas for Clement’s men.

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