Win or bust at Ibrox
On Tuesday evening, Rangers host Malmo at Ibrox Park in the second leg of the Champions League qualifying third round. Steven Gerrard’s side trail 2-1 on aggregate following last week’s painful defeat in Sweden. With no away goal rule, it’s now win or bust for the Gers at Ibrox.
Pressure is on the home team following back-to-back defeats in this competition and the Scottish Premiership. The locals will benefit from a capacity crowd, and it promises to be an unforgettable atmosphere in Govan. This will be the first time there’s been a full house at this famous stadium since Bayer Leverkusen won here in the Europa League in March 2020.
The arena will be packed, and the fans will be in full voice, urging their stars to go on the attack and get the win needed to keep their Champions League group stage dream alive. Will the players deliver? You can place your bets at Betfair.
Rangers must bounce back
It’s still very early in the season, but the pressure is on Gerrard to get his side firing again. Defending their Scottish Premiership title is the main aim for all connected to Rangers this season but making the group stages of the Champions League would provide a huge cash boost for the club following a difficult decade. To have any chance, they must respond from defeat last week in Sweden when scoring late after conceding two goals in quick succession at the start of the second-half.
Steven Davis was the hero that night, but the experienced Northern Irishman couldn’t dig his side out Saturday. Rangers lost their proud unbeaten league run when going down 1-0 at Tannadice. The Gers failed to find a way through despite dominating the game and offered little threat to the Tangerines’ defence, forced to pass the ball around the edge of the box. They were caught on the counter when Jamie Robson raced clear to score against the run of play, bagging a surprise three points.
Swedes in the driving seat
Malmo sit in the driving seat as they arrive in Scotland, looking to finish the job. They weren’t always the better team on their patch last week, but they did take the chances that came their way, hitting Rangers hard twice in quick succession. Soren Rieks broke the deadlock on 47 minutes to stun Rangers, and as the Scots struggled to recover, they were hit again, Veljko Birmancevic finding the net less than two minutes later. If not for that late consolation goal from Davis, it would have been the perfect result for the hosts.
On Saturday, Malmo warmed up for this test with a trip to Halmstads BK in the Swedish Allsvenskan, but they were held to a goalless draw. That result saw Sky Blue go joint top of the league, behind current leaders Djurgardens IF by a single goal. Manager Jon Dahl Tomasson will be encouraged by the clean sheet and knows a similar result on Tuesday will see his men progress.
Crowd will spark Gers to life
It will be an emotional night inside Ibrox, and the usual electric atmosphere on European nights will be multiplied by 10 as a love for the Rangers reunites old friends. The players will feed off that, and the noise will put Malmo on edge from the opening whistle.
Rangers are 1.574/7 on the Betfair Exchange to win the match, and that’s our bet.
Malmo are likely to play for a draw, knowing if they can match their hosts, they’ll go marching on to the playoff round and be within touching distance of the group stages.
The draw is 4.3100/30 with victory for Malmo available at a stunning 6.25/1. That’s over-priced and I wouldn’t argue with anyone wishing to go with the value play.
Followers are in for a tense 90
The first goal in this game will be crucial. Rangers will want to take the lead early and fire themselves level before cranking up the pressure on the visitors. They have never beaten Malmo in three previous attempts. If Malmo score first, the tie is as good as over.
That should make for a tense 90 minutes as both teams target a goal but try not to leave themselves open at the back. Take under 2.5 goals at 2.021/1 or try your luck on no in the both teams to score market at 1.9520/21.