Rangers secured their first win of this season’s Europa League as they enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Brondby at Ibrox.
First-half goals from Leon Balogun and Kemar Roofe were enough to give Steven Gerrard’s side the points and move them off the bottom of Group A.
Balogun opened his account for the club with a thumping 18th-minute header from James Tavernier’s corner.
Roofe put the game beyond the reigning Danish Superliga champions on the half-hour mark with his 25th goal in 49 appearances.
1 – Leon Balogun has scored his first ever @RangersFC goal. It’s his first goal in any club competition since netting for Brighton against Crystal Palace in the Premier League back in December 2018. Rise. pic.twitter.com/DJdKNkYDlD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 21, 2021
Both sides were searching for their first goals in Group A, having drawn blanks in their opening two fixtures.
Rangers broke their duck early on – and so did Balogun, with the centre-half netting his maiden goal for the club in his 40th appearance.
The visitors spurned a great opportunity to equalise when Andrija Pavlovic fired over from close range, and they were made to pay as the hosts doubled their lead through Roofe’s tap-in after half an hour.
Reacting quickest after Alfredo Morelos’ header was saved, the former Leeds United striker was initially denied by the offside flag, but that decision was correctly overturned following a consultation with VAR.
Brondby squandered another great chance within seconds of the second half beginning when Uhre shot wide after Borna Barisic’s loose pass inadvertently sent him clear on goal.
That was the closest the visitors came to threatening a comeback and inflicting a fourth defeat in five home European matches for Rangers.
Scott Arfield and Fashion Sakala went close to adding a third later on for Gerrard’s team, who saw out victory and claimed a hugely important three points.
What does it mean? Rangers off and running
Following their first positive result in the competition, the Glasgow giants leapfrog Brondby into third place in Group A.
They also move to within a point of second-placed Sparta Prague, who were beaten 4-3 by runaway leaders Lyon.
No ordinary Joe
Joe Aribo provided a constant threat to Brondby with his pace and power throughout the 90 minutes.
No Rangers player was involved in more duels (15) than the winger, who also completed 58 of his 62 passes and only Tavernier (111) among the hosts’ team bettered his tally of 93 touches.
Uhre not impressed
Brondby’s top scorer this season, the forward came into the contest with nine goals in 16 games.
However, he squandered great opportunities at the start of each half and was substituted in the 63rd minute having completed just nine passes and lost possession 10 times.
Both sides are back in action on Sunday. Rangers travel to St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership, while Brondby host FC Copenhagen in the Danish Superliga.
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