Rangers strike unlucky in Spain

By Ryan C. Gavan

Rangers Manager Walter Smith
Walter Smith will be unhappy not to gain a point from the game

Two goals from Roberto Soldado and a third from Tino Costa thwarted Rangers from gaining any points in the Champions League at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium last night.

Soldado capitalised on a failed clearance from Alan McGregor, the Rangers keeper, in the 33rd minute following a corner, squeezing a shot past Sasha Pavac, who was standing at the near post.

His second came after a making a run down the right-wing playing a one-two with Juan Mata. This led to a perfectly weighted finish past the Rangers keeper. McGregor managed to get his finger-tips to it but could not stop it from hitting the back of the net.

Valencia hit home just before the final whistle for the third, with Tino Costa volleying in a cross from Miguel. This marked a final farewell to the visitors from Glasgow.

Rangers were not without their chances. Steven Naismith was denied by the woodwork in both halves. The first after a Kirk Broadfoot pass up the left-wing, which saw the Scotland international hit bending shot that struck the far post. The second was a header that grazed the near upright. The rebound was spilled by the Valencia keeper, Caesar Sanchez, but Rangers could not capitalise.

Valencia dominated play, with Joaquin causing trouble for the visitors all evening. He made pressing runs up both wings that could not be stopped by the Rangers defence. This was highlighted in the 80th minute. A dancing run beat Steven Whittaker but the resulting cut-back was misplaced.

 McGregor played well between the sticks despite the score line. He made a number of saves that required quick hands on his part. Shots by Mata in the 3rd and 11th tested the keeper’s reactions.

Scotland striker Kenny Miller had a quiet night, having only one good opportunity during the game. Defender Miguel was caught out by Naismith who passed the ball on to Miller. This left him one on one with Caesar, but the striker could only shoot weakly into the keeper’s arms.

David Albelda was awarded the only card of the game, after a reckless challenge on Broadfoot.

Rangers will now face the Group C leaders Manchester United on the November 24th.