Rangers have one foot in the next round of the Europa League after a pulsating away win in the Europa League last week. They will be looking to avoid a shock result when the two sides square off again at Ibrox on Thursday.
Europa League Preview
This season couldn’t have gone any better from a Ranger point of view, as Steven Gerrard stands on the brink of ended their ten-year wait for an SPL title. The Gers need just seven points from the remainder of the season to win the league, and it’s looking a matter of when and not if they take the title from the Glasgow rivals. Since the league is all wrapped up, they could turn their attention towards excelling in the Europa League for the remainder of the season. But, before planning too far ahead, they must first successfully navigate a second leg against Antwerp.
The sides played out a Europa League classic last weekend, with Gers eventually claiming a 4-3 win on away soil. In truth, it’s hard to be overly critical of Antwerp’s performance in that game, as they played fantastic. However, they would have been disappointed to lose the game as they went into the final ten minutes with a 3-2 lead. Felipe Avenatti, Lior Refaelov and Martin Hongla scored the goals to put them in that commanding position. However, goals from Ryan Kent and Borna Barisic in the final stages have put Rangers in complete control of the tie. A red card to Abdoulaye Seck two minutes from time was the turning point from Antwerp’s perspective, but their mission in the second leg is clear. They must win by two clear goals to progress, but that would seem an unlikely result.
Rangers vs Antwerp Team News
Seck will be missing for the second leg through suspension, while Dylan Batubinsika, Alexis de Sart and Jean Butez are all likely to miss out. Sander Coopman is a more long-standing injury concern for the travelling side. Rangers will be without right-back James Tavernier and Nikola Katic for the return game against Antwerp on Thursday.
Rangers vs Antwerp Prediction
The first leg was an entertaining fixture between these two sides, but it is unlikely to be as action-packed on Thursday. Gers are more than good enough to get the result that they need to progress, and they should secure their passage with a victory at Ibrox.
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