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Late rally lifts Rangers

Thursday, 25 November 2004

By Stuart Darroch at Ibrox

[1] Rangers FC maintained their 100 per cent start to UEFA Cup Group F thanks to three second-half goals that defeated Grazer AK.

Late lead

[2] The Glasgow club, now unbeaten in 15 games, had to wait until the final moments before securing victory, Shota Arveladze and Hamed Namouchi both scoring in the last five minutes. Nacho Novo had already given Rangers a 58th-minute lead, tapping in at the far post from a Fernando Ricksen centre.

Grazer on top

[3] GAK arrived in Glasgow with confidence, having won their last three matches, and enjoyed the better opening chances. Mario Bazina was even allowed a long-range shot which fizzed wide before the home side registered their first serious attempt at goal - defensive midfield player Robert Malcolm bringing out an excellent save from Grazer goalkeeper Andreas Schranz from distance on 18 minutes.

Rangers pressure

[4] The clearest opportunity of the first half was reserved for the visitors nine minutes before the interval. Roland Kollmann skipped clear of Rangers right-back Zurab Khizanishvilli before picking out Joachim Standfest, who found goalkeeper Stefan Klos alert enough to come off his line and block. Rangers winger Peter Løvenkrands had a clear chance just moments later, but he too failed to finish.

Late goals

[5] Rangers' pressure paid off just before the hour when they opened the scoring through Novo's strike, but were made to wait until the end to make the points safe. Substitute Arveladze secured the win for the home side four minutes from time with another close-range finish, before the victory was sealed by midfield player Namouchi three minutes into added time.

Next games

[6] Alex McLeish's team next travel to face AZ Alkmaar on 2 December, while GAK have a chance to regroup, not in action again until 15 December, also against AZ.

GAK's Martin Amerhauser clashes with Zurab Khizanishvili of Rangers