Gers suffer Stuttgart defeat
Rangers slumped to a 3-2 away defeat to Stuttgart to set up a winner takes all clash with Lyon.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 27/11/07 11:42pm
Rangers slumped to a 3-2 away defeat to Stuttgart to set up a winner takes all clash with Lyon in their final group game of the UEFA Champions League.
Walter Smith's side face Lyon, who recorded a 2-2 draw with Barcelona, at Ibrox in two weeks' time and the winner will progress from Group E to the knockout stages.
Goals from Charlie Adam and Barry Ferguson looked to have earned Rangers, who would qualify with a point against Lyon, a draw as they cancelled out strikes from Cacau and Pavel Pardo, but Ciprian Marica hit a late winner for Stuttgart at the Gottlieb Daimler Stadium.
The Scottish side had taken the lead in the 27th minute when Adam - who had been on the pitch 59 seconds after replacing the injured Lee McCulloch - prodded home, but on the stoke of half-time Cacau cleverly deflected in Pavel Pardo's long-range effort to equalise.
After the interval Stuttgart dominated possession and they took a deserved lead when Pardo fired in from 20 yards on 62 minutes.
Rangers, though, hit back when Barry Ferguson pounced to restore parity on 70 minutes, but Marica cleverly deflected in with five minutes remaining to give Stuttgart the points.
Stuttgart enjoyed a decent amount of possession early on but it was Rangers who squandered a great chance to take an early lead.
Ferguson's shot fell kindly to DaMarcus Beasley but the ball tangled under his feet and his weak effort was easily dealt with by goalkeeper Raphael Schafer.
Stuttgart were under pressure again when Jean-Claude Darcheville burst into the box unmarked but the end product was disappointing as he blasted into the side-netting.
At the other end, Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was called into action to block a point-blank effort from Cacau with his legs.
Rangers then had a couple of good chances of their own. A Kevin Thomson effort was deflected just wide by Matthieu Delpierre before a David Weir header was hooked off the line by Ludovic Magnin.
McCulloch was then forced out of the action with just 26 minutes gone. His challenge on Roberto Hilbert earned him the first yellow card of the night before limping off the park after he was the victim of an Andreas Beck tackle.
Adam was the replacement and had an immediate impact on the game when he opened the scoring as Carlos Cuellar headed into his path to allow him to stab home from a few yards with his first touch.
Rangers, though, were caught napping at a Thomas Hitzlsperger corner, which Pardo knocked into the path of Cacau to backheel home.
After the interval Rangers could have restored their lead within a minute of the restart when Darcheville threaded the ball through to Beasley only for Schafer to race off his line and smother before he could pull the trigger.
Beasley was hurt in the collision and Rangers lost a second player to injury when he was carried off and replaced by Steven Naismith.
Pardo had more luck for Stuttgart with 62 minutes gone when he unleashed an audacious 25-yard shot which sliced through the Gers defence and sneaked under the body of McGregor.
But Rangers were back on level terms eight minutes later when Naismith robbed Delpierre of possession before racing to the by-line and cutting back to Ferguson, who had plenty of time to find the net.
Rangers threw Daniel Cousin into the action in place of Darcheville for the last 10 minutes as they searched for the winner.
But it was Marica who earned Stuttgart their first points of the campaign with six minutes to go when he squeezed in front of Weir to flick a deft volley into the top corner.
|VfB Stuttgart||Team Statistics||Rangers|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|8||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||6|