As our regular ESPN Correspondent Ravi Sagoo is currently away sunning himself on foreign shores, we thought it only fair that we bring in some new, fresh talent to give their opinion on all things blue.( of a Rangers nature,I may add!)
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Miss Ami Small a young lady who lives and breathes football and particularly Glasgow Rangers Football Club.
Ami has been almost excited and nervous about writing this article on her beloved Rangers as most of the fans may have been going to the match last night but just like the Gers last night,it was a job very well done.
We hope that this is not the last you’ll hear of young Ami and Ravi, you better have something up your sleeve or you’ll be on the subs bench mate!
Over to you Ami.......
Rangers v Valencia Champions League Match Three
Report by guest writer Ami Small
Its game 3 for Rangers in the Champions League, and it sees the Scottish champions at home to Spanish giants Valencia on a freezing cold night in Glasgow. Before the match, Rangers coach and club legend Ian Durrant described Valencia as “The best counter attacking team he’d ever seen”, so Rangers are fully aware of their strengths as they play their familiar 5-4-1 formation this evening.
Rangers have made two changes to the line up, with Broadfoot failing a fitness test and McCulloch already ruled out, Weiss and on-loan player Foster are brought in for their first Champions League starts.
Rangers start out on the defensive as Whittaker gives the ball away and Pablo is able to get his shot away, however McGregor saves the effort with ease. This gives the early warning signs for Rangers as they absorb the constant Valencia pressure, and are forced to sit deep for the first 15 minutes. Rangers launch their first real attack in 17 minutes as Miller crosses high into the penalty box to find Naismith, whose shot is saved by Valencia keeper Sanchez Cesar. Just a minute later, Naismith returns the favour as he whips in the perfect ball to find Miller at the back post. Unluckily for Rangers however, Miller fails to find the back of the net. Rangers are piling on the pressure now, and we see them pressing again as Davis is fouled just outside the box. The referee plays advantage as the ball finds Papac, and his effort is only a yard away from finding the back of the net.
Valencia, who had seen out the Rangers pressure, and then manage to release Hernandez who picks up the ball just outside the Rangers box and works it past 3 Rangers defenders and gets his shot away. However, it’s an easy save for the Rangers number 1 in the end.
Just after the 30 minute mark, Rangers get a corner. Young Weiss takes it and floats it into the Valencia box. Edu leaps above the defence to meet it and makes no mistake. GOAL RANGERS!!! Everybody at Ibrox is on their feet except scorer Edu, who’s taken a knock to the face in the process of scoring and is taken off the field for treatment, but is able to return to the action.
The second half kicks off, and only 44 seconds into the action Edu scores again. Unfortunately, it’s into his own goal after Tino Costas free kick is floated into the box, and neither Edu nor McGregor can keep it out of the net.
Valencia are forcing Rangers to play deep again at the start of the second half and Miguel Ricardo Costa gets a shot away, McGregor spills the attempt but Papac is able to launch the ball away to safety.
Just after the hour mark, it’s Rangers on the attack now as Foster takes a throw in. The ball drops to Naismith who makes a perfect little chip at goal, however the Valencia keeper just manages to move his feet quickly enough to get back and knock the ball over for a corner. Rangers continue the pressure, and with 20 minutes to go it’s clear that Rangers don’t want to settle for just 1 point, and Naismith is brought down just outside the box by Mathieu for a free kick. Papac takes the kick and lifts it over the four man Valencia wall but unfortunately ends up just over the bar. A few minutes later, Weiss sends over a cross to Naismith, but he takes a touch just over his foot, and the chance is gone.
Rangers make their first change in the last minutes as Lafferty is brought on for Weiss.
The final minute of the game sees Rangers pressing as the Valencia keeper scrambles a Bougherra shot. However, nobody in blue is able to convert this, and the keeper is able to retrieve the ball. The last touch of the game goes to McGregor, who makes a fantastic last minute save, and this concludes the action which sees Rangers maintain second place in their group with a precious point taken against their Spanish rivals.
Crowd – 45,153.
After the match, Rangers manager Walter Smith was clearly proud of his team. “Credit to my players, who worked extremely hard this evening. It was some night for Edu. It was good to see him getting up there for our goal, but he was very unfortunate with the own goal. I’m frustrated though at this level to have both goals coming from set pieces and not from open play”.
Rangers played with guts and determination tonight, both in attack, and seeing out lengthy spells of Valencia pressure. A team every Rangers fan can be proud of as they fly the flag for Scotland on the Champions League stage.
Well done Ami and thanks for taking the time out for doing this for the ESPN Rangers site,I am sure Ravi will see you for a pint in the Louden in the future!