A frustrated Dejan Stankovic believes Rangers’ 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade on Thursday was flattering.
Although the Red Star coach admitted it would be tough to turn the tie around in the return leg, his side deserved more from Ibrox.
After an eventful 90 minutes, the end of the match saw Stankovic head straight down the tunnel and decline to shake hands with counterpart Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who was visibly annoyed. The antagonism only resumed in the post-match news conference.
“The result is flattering, and we didn’t have a subordinate role [in the game]. The result didn’t reflect the balance of power on the pitch,” Stankovic said afterwards. “We created our chances, offside three times, hit the frame of the goal, a missed penalty.”
Glave gore, šampioni!
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After a VAR intervention, Rangers took the lead from the penalty spot through James Tavernier, and Alfredo Morelos doubled the margin on 15 minutes.
Aleksandar Katai failed to convert a penalty of Red Star’s own nine minutes later, and had the better opportunities as the match progressed. Rangers capitalised on their chances however, leaving Stankovic to rue what could have been.
The 43-year-old was nevertheless in a defiant mood afterwards, claiming the tie is not yet over, with a return leg at the notoriously hostile Rajko Mitic Stadium looming.
“They were awarded a soft penalty also, and scored three goals from three dead balls. It’s just a shame that the result is disproportionate to what we showed. If we were to lose, the result should have been different with at least one goal scored, if not two. But that’s football,” Stankovic said.
“I am convinced that the stands will be packed [in the second leg]. We showed that we can put them in real problems even though they’re a solid, well organised team. I am a realist though, and it will be tough because we didn’t score, but never say never.”
The return fixture in Belgrade is next Thursday, with Red Star and Rangers facing Metalac and Dundee respectively on the weekend in domestic competitions.
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