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Rangers knocked out of Champions League qualifying by Malmo

A 2-1 defeat to the 10-man Swedish side at Ibrox ended hopes of reaching the group stage.

Rangers knocked out of Champions League qualifying by Malmo NHSGCC

Rangers have been knocked out of the Champions League, losing 4-2 on aggregate to Malmo in their qualifying tie after the Swedish side were 2-1 winners in the second leg at Ibrox.

Despite being reduced to ten men just before half time, the Swedish side scored twice through Antonio Colak after Alfredo Morelos had given Rangers an early lead.

The defeat comes after a 2-1 loss in the first leg in Sweden last week, and after Dundee United won the Premiership game 1-0 on Saturday, meaning that the Ibrox side have lost three consecutive matches for the first time since 2015.

Rangers started on the front foot, consistently testing the visitors’ back line and creating a number of half chances before taking the lead in the 18th minute.

Ryan Kent was the provider, swinging in a cross that Alfredo Morelos rose to guide into the net, with the ball coming off the Colombian striker’s back.

The hosts were on top and the capacity crowd were roaring them on as they went in pursuit of a second goal to put the tie in their favour. Their hopes increased when Bonke Innocent picked up his second yellow card in a matter of minutes for a challenge on Connor Goldson, leaving Malmo down to ten men just before half time.

Despite being a man down, the Swedish side began the second half as the stronger side and after 52 minutes they got their reward. Valjko Birmancevic played a reverse pass to Antonio Colak and the Croatian striker spun and hit a low shot across Allan McGregor and into the net.

Five minutes later Malmo took the lead. A throw-in found Colak unmarked and he took a touch before smacking his shot past McGregor, silencing the Ibrox crowd.

Rangers made attacking changes as they pursued the goals they needed to keep them in the competition but Malmo remained organised and saw out time to take their place in the play-off round.

Steven Gerrard’s side will now drop into the Europa League play-offs where they will play Kairat Almaty or Alashkert.