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Rangers dumped out of Champions League by 10-man Malmo

Steven Gerrard’s side were beaten 2-1 at Ibrox.

File photo of Steven Gerrard.
File photo of Steven Gerrard.
Image: Andreas Hillergren/TT

RANGERS WERE KNOCKED out of the Champions League qualifiers following a 2-1 defeat at Ibrox to 10-man Malmo, consigning Steven Gerrard’s side to a 4-2 aggregate loss. 

Rangers levelled the tie by taking the lead through Alfredo Morelos after 18 minutes before a full house, and Malmo trooped into the dressing rooms at half-time a man down too, as Bonke Innocent was deemed anything but by the referee who brandished him a pair of first-half yellow cards, the second coming in stoppage time. 

Malmo, however, flipped the tie on its head in the space of four stunning second-half minutes, as Antonio Colak scored twice to push Jon Dahl Thomasson’s side into the lead. 

Rangers then needed two goals to send the game to extra time but ultimately couldn’t score any, laying siege without success for the final half-hour. It’s Malmo who progress to a playoff round against Ludogorets, with this, Rangers’ third-straight defeat, relegating them to a Europa League playoff against Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan or Armenian champions Alashkert. 

Elsewhere in the Champions League tonight, Monaco beat Sparta Prague 3-1 to reach the Champions League’s play-off round, a week after the Ligue 1 club’s Aurelien Tchouameni suffered racist abuse during the first leg in the Czech Republic.

On Monday, Sparta said in a statement they were “deeply saddened by the incident” during their 2-0 first leg loss when Tchouameni was the subject of monkey chants after scoring the opener in the Czech capital.

After his torrid first leg experience in Prague, 21-year-old Tchouameni was again in the starting line-up for Monaco, picking up a first half yellow card before Gelson Martins and Aleksandr Golovin gave the Principality outfit a comfortable lead by the hour mark.

David Moberg-Karlsson closed the gap for the visitors with less than a quarter of an hour remaining before Sofiane Diop put Monaco within 180 minutes of the Champions League group stages.

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Monaco will face Shakhtar Donetsk on August 17 before the second leg a week later. The Ukrainians beat Genk 2-1 on the night to complete a 4-2 win on aggregate.

PSV Eindhoven cruised past Mitjylland 4-0 over the two legs to set up a play-off against two-time champions Benfica who eased past Spartak Moscow 3-0 over two legs, Joao Mario scoring the opener in Tuesday’s 2-0 win.

Meanwhile, Shamrock Rovers will face Flora Tallinn of Estonia in the play-off round of the Europa Conference League should they progress against Teuta of Albania. Flora were edged out of their Europa League tie against Omonoia of Nicosia on penalties tonight, meaning they drop into the third-tier competition. 

With reporting by AFP

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Gavin Cooney

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