Another night of humiliation for Rangers

CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE: Juventus pick off despairing Scots at will while Warsaw bring Rovers' European interest to an end
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The Independent Online
GLENN MOORE

Rangers 0 Juventus 4

Rangers' Champions' League campaign descended further into ignominy last night as they were humiliated in their Ibrox stronghold by Juventus. The Italian champions did not even appear to extend themselves as they picked off the Glasgow club at will.

Rangers held their own for an hour, conceding just a soft goal to Alessandro Del Piero after 16 minutes. But Juventus then struck through Moreno Torricelli before late goals from Fabrizio Ravanelli and Giancarlo Marocchi - from 35 yards - left Rangers in despair.

In Turin a fortnight ago Juventus had started with alacrity, bringing two excellent saves from Andy Goram within the opening minute. Rangers never recovered their composure and were hammered 4-1. They were thus keen to start strongly last night. They did so but, despite gaining an the edge in possession, failed to create any early chances although Moreno Torricelli was booked after being pressured into a bad foul on Salenko.

Then, after 16 minutes, the world fell in on Rangers' hopes as they conceded a soft goal to Del Piero. Angelo Di Livio curled in a gentle cross but, after Gordan Petric misjudged it, the ball fell to Del Piero who scored with ease.

The bulk of the stadium, which had been throbbing with noise, fell silent. The exception was the small band of travelling supporters who had been heavily supplemented by Glasgow's large Italian community.

It got worse. Rangers, already hamstrung by injuries and suspension, now lost Stephen Wright with injury. However, the change proved beneficial as Ian Durrant came on and almost sparked an equaliser with his first touch. The midfield player found Miller in space on the right before sprinting into the area for the return which was just taken off his brow by a fine defensive header from Torricelli.

The rest of the half was disappointing, with Vialli spending most of it impersonating Greg Louganis while Rangers struggled to fine their rhythm.

Rangers' plight deepened at the interval with Billy Thomson being forced to replace Goram in goal. He was quickly tested - and passed with distinction, diving low to save Di Livio's header after Gianluca Pessotto had crossed from the left.

The incident at last spurred Rangers and, within a minute, they went even closer from successive Durrant corners. From the first Richard Gough brought an excellent save from Angelo Peruzzi (his first of the night). From the second Petric hit the post.

With the crowd roaring anew Rangers tore into their illustrious opponents. Even Paul Gascoigne, who was having a quiet game, became involved but his free-kick barely extended Peruzzi. Juventus then roused themselves again, and killed off the Scottish champions with 25 minutes left.

Gianluca Vialli found Torricelli on the overlap, the full-back cut inside Gary Bollan and swept into the box before neatly shooting past Thomson.

Rangers should have achieved an instant riposte. Brown, relying more on heart than technique, launched himself forward before slipping an intelligent pass to Miller. The youngster looked yards offside, so much so that he must have been waiting for the whistle for he hesitated before allowing Peruzzi the chance to make a good save.

By the end Juventus were playing with Rangers and, with their fans boldly chanting "Celtic", Ravanelli went clear to score a third and then Marocchi struck the fourth.

Rangers (3-5-1-1): Goram (Thomson, h-t); Petric, Gough, Brown; Wright (Durrant, 24), Ferguson, McCall, Gascoigne, Bollan; Miller (McCoist, 69); Salenko.

Juventus (4-4-2): Peruzzi; Torricelli, Carrera, Porrini (Ferrara, 78), Pessotto; Di Livio, Conte, Sousa, Tacchinardi (Marocchi, 73); Vialli (Ravanelli, 69), Del Piero.

Referee: A Cakar (Turkey).

Uefa Cup verdict, page 30

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