Monday, January 23, 2017

Rangers left with tricky trip after Kaunas draw

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 30 Jul 2008

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Rangers face a nervy return leg in Lithuania after a goalless draw against FBK Kaunas at Ibrox here Wednesday in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

The only positive for the Scottish side was the lack of an away goal for the Lithuanian champions.

Rangers had the best of the game's chances but could not find a way past Kaunas keeper Marian Kello, who looked nervous throughout the match.

Kaunas had started brightly with Brazilian Rafael Ledesma shooting over the bar in the eighth minute from 30 yards out.

And in the 15th minute Rangers had to be at their best to stop a Kaunas attack with a well-timed tackle on the edge of the box by captain David Weir.

The home side looked subdued at this point and it was Kenny Miller who had their first real chance of the half in the 20th minute.

The striker, making his home debut in his second Rangers spell, chested a Charlie Adam cross and then lifted it over the advancing Kello, but his shot was cleared off the line for a corner.

Kaunas responded and Mindaugas Grigalevicius came close in the 23rd minute when he fired a shot just past the post with Allan McGregor beaten.

Ledesma had the first shot on target for the Lithuanians in the 34th minute but it was easily saved by the Rangers keeper.

Jean-Claude Darcheville should have opened the scoring in the 41st minute when a perfectly weighted ball from Miller played him in with only the keeper to beat.

The striker rounded Kello but his weak shot was cleared off the line by former Hearts defender Tomas Kancelskis.

Rangers finished the half brightly and Miller was involved again when he headed a cross into the path of Adam whose shot was well wide.

Spanish forward Nacho Novo replaced veteran Christian Dailly at half-time and this introduced some urgency to the Rangers attack.

Good link-up play between Novo and Miller saw the Scotland striker float a cross into the box with Darcheville and Lee McCulloch just failing to connect.

Rangers dominated possession at this stage and Kello was quick to react to punch out an Adam corner, which looked to be swerving in.

McCulloch collected the game's first yellow card after 55 minutes with a late challenge on Vytautas Luksa as he was breaking on the left-hand side.

Shortly afterwards Miller had a great chance to put Rangers into the lead when he was slipped in by a Steven Whittaker pass but his shot was turned out for a corner by the Lithuanian keeper.

Kaunas midfielder Ledesma, who had looked impressive in the first half, was substituted in the 62nd minute for Nukri Manchkhava.

Ibrox erupted when last season's top goalscorer Kris Boyd replaced Darcheville in the 65th minute.

And it did not take long for him to get involved in the action after a ball over the top played him in but the Scotland international was flagged for offside.

After initially facing jeers from a small minority of Rangers fans because he onced played for arch-rivals Celtic, Miller was given a standing ovation for his tireless display when he was replaced by Andrius Velicka after 73 minutes.

Kaunas offered little in the second-half and their chances were restricted as Rangers constantly pushed forward looking for the winner.

But Rangers could not break the deadlock and travel to Lithuania next Tuesday for the return leg.

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