RB Leipzig v Rangers: Europa League semi-final, first leg – live! | Europa League

No real saves for McGregor in that half; a few good blocks from his defense and perhaps one squandered chance from Nkunku. Little up top from Rangers, save for one brief spell before the half-hour, but they have hardly been under the pump.

Half-time: RB Leipzig 0-0 Rangers

A non-event of a half, overall – so Rangers should be delighted.

43 min: Rangers fan out a bit and try to construct something, but Angelino is again back to thwart.

40 min: To reinforce that point, the duller the better for Rangers really. So this, as Adams overcooks a pass intended for Henrichs, fits the bill perfectly so far.

38 min: So far, beyond two or three scares where Rangers have had to get bodies in the way, this half has kind of drifted by. There certainly seems a little danger of a Rangers goal, but they’ll be happy if they get to the interval like this.

35 min: The dangerous Laimer plays a give-and-go down the right and whips a teasing ball across … but Nkunku isn’t close enough to convert.

33 min: Angelino gets his own back as Tavernier makes promising inroads into the Leipzig half. The ex-Man City player darts in to dispossess just as it was getting interesting.

31 min: Pinball in the Rangers box, Tavernier blocking a meaty Angelino volley seconds after flicking away a Szoboszlai cross that was bound for Nkunku. A reminder that Leipzig pack a punch.

30 min: And now Rangers have a corner after good play between Aribo and Kent. This is a much better spell. It’ll be swung in from the left … and Goldson climbs highest, but his header is well over.

28 min: Tavernier’s delivery, unfortunately, leaves a lot to be desired.

27 min: Rangers have their first really extended spell of play in the Leipzig half, and it ends with Adams crudely fouling Kent. Free-kick in a very dangerous area outside the box …

25 min: Wright and Guardiol collide after the former nips in to win possession sharply. Rangers win a free-kick in midfield; the pair both took blows there but seem OK.

24 min: West Ham have equalized against Eintracht. So both UK-Germany ties are now all square.

21 min: The away fans remain in full voice. And Rangers slow things down with some passing from the back, before Kamara is dumped over by Laimer. He’s fine, and Rangers will be happy to see play broken up a bit.

18 min: And another big challenge, Laimer looking to get away before Goldson slides in at the last. Rangers are living a touch dangerously now.

17 min: A big let-off, as Barisic clears unconvincingly and, when Adams squares, Nkunku has a clear shot at goal. But his touch is too heavy and, when he does get a shot away. Bassey can block. That was a chance for the hosts.

14 min: Rangers get out at last, Goldson looking to send Wright away over the top … it almost results in a corner, but they settle for a throw. Still, a glimmer of how they might threaten tonight.

11 min: Laimer makes a surge down the right but McGregor can, to some relief, plunge onto his cross and gather.

9 min: So far, though, Rangers haven’t really been prised open. Aribo and Jack hunt in a pack to snuff out one potential moment of danger.

7 min: Still little time on the ball for Rangers. Adams has had a low center cut out. They look a bit skittish but if they can ride out this early spell you’d think things will come more naturally.

Rangers’ Ryan Kent stretches for the ball. Photograph: Lisi Niesner / Reuters

5 min: West Ham have gone a goal down to Eintracht inside a minute … wow.

4 min: Rangers will have to “pick their moments” to attack here, I fancy. Nkunku goes down in the box as he tries to spin Goldson, but tumbles a bit too easily.

2 min: Rangers, all in blue, are kicking left to right. After a squall of early pressure they’re settling and McGregor has the ball.

Peeeep! Off we go!

Leipzig are straight on the front foot here.

The teams are out! 4,000 Rangers fans raise the roof. We’ll be underway soon …

Rangers fans light flares inside the stadium before the match.
Rangers fans get flarey. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge / Action Images / Reuters
The Leipzig fans show their support,
The Leipzig fans give it some welly too. Photograph: Maja Hitij / Getty Images

There’s also the small matter of West Ham v Eintracht Frankfurt – we couldn’t have a Hammers-Rangers final … could we? – with Rob Smyth.

I must say, the atmosphere does sound tremendous in there. Rangers’ fans have been making themselves seen and heard in town all afternoon, in tremendous number. It feels like an arrival back at the biggest stage, or close to that – what a night this is for them!

Rangers fans enjoy themselves ahead of the match.
Rangers fans enjoy themselves ahead of the match, outside the ground …. Photograph: Markus Schreiber / AP
Rangers fans in the stands ahead of the match.
And inside. Photograph: PA Wire / DPA / PA

Van Bronckhorst: “We don’t get many chances to be in a final. We have prepared well and I’m very proud of my players for getting to this stage. Our players believe, they’ve trained well, they look very focused and we’re going to play in a great atmosphere against a good team. We want to enjoy it as well. ”

Rangers are depleted in attack today – Alfredo Morelos is out, of course, and so is Kemar Roofe. Fashion Sakala might have been expected to start up top but instead Van Bronckhorst has gone with Scott Wright – seemingly looking to get at Leipzig with pace and mobility on the counter. Has he got it right?

Are RB Leipzig tired? Giovanni van Bronckhorst isn’t having a lot of those old tricks.

Starting lineups

RB Leipzig: Goulash; Guardiola, Henrichs, Halstenberg; Laimer, Adams, Klostermann, Angelino; Olmo, Nkunku, Szoboszlai.

Rangers: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic; Jack, Lundstram; Aribo, Kamara, Kent; Wright.

Good evening

It’s 14 years since Rangers last contested a European semi-final. Back then, they edged past Fiorentina in the Uefa Cup, only to fall short against Zenit at last. Tonight they go again, in this not-particularly-new-fangled Europa League of ours – and they’re tantalizingly close to making history again.

They face RB Leipzig, who had not even been founded when Rangers stepped out in 2008. This won’t be easy at all, but the Bundesliga’s fourth-placed side may not quite have the chandelier of years past … and Rangers can play the second leg at home. So at long as there are no disasters tonight, the Ibrox crowd may well be able to see them home next time out. Rangers are underdogs, sure – but they’ve done incredibly in getting this far, and you can’t back against them now.

Let’s see how they do! Get your emails and tweets in, and tell me what you think.

Leave a Comment