American Football

Maribor 0-0 Rangers (1-3 on aggregate): Steven Gerrards men edge closer to Europa League group stages


The Gers had to survive an onslaught as Allan McGregor saved a late penalty

Rangers showed great resilience in Maribor as Allan McGregors stoppage-time penalty sealed the 0-0 draw which saw Steven Gerrards men into the Europa League play-offs.

The former Liverpool man is see his team concede a goal since taking charge this summer.

However, the Ibrox boss vowed on Wednesday he would not park the bus and look to protect last weeks 3-1 first-leg lead.

But the Light Blues had to grit their teeth as the Slovenians came for them at the Ljudski Stadion, with McGregor capping off a brave display as he repelled Marcos Tavares late spot-kick.

A 4,600-mile round trip now beckons for Gers as they march on to face FC Ufa after the Russians denied Rangers a shot at revenge against Progres Niederkorn for last years humiliating upset.

The opening stages were a test of Gers bottle as the hosts – buoyed by last weeks away goal – looked to probe a defence weakened by the absence of Gers suspended left-back Jon Flanagan and cup-tied new signing Borna Barisic.

Allan McGregor was superb for the visitors

Allan McGregor was superb for the visitors

Andy Halliday was plugging the left-back slot but the nervy converted-midfielder was grateful to see a couple of misjudgements go unpunished while Nikola Katic did well to put off Sasa Ivkovic as he met a Amir Dervisevic corner six yards out.

The tense atmosphere grew even more hostile as Belgian referee Jonathan Lardot stopped the game briefly to collect an array of objects that had rained down towards McGregor as he took a goal kick.

But the Gers keeper continued to defy the home support, pulling off a wonder block at point-blank range as Aleks Pihler nodded down for Tavares.

There was one last fright for Gers in added time as Goldson gave away a penalty with a trip on Luka Zahovic, but McGregor again refused to be beaten as he blocked Tavares strike with his legs.

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