Alexander heroics help keep Rangers' hopes alive

PSV Eindhoven 0 Rangers 0
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The Independent Football

Rangers' second-choice goalkeeper Neil Alexander shut out PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands last night to hand his side a fighting chance of progressing to the last eight of the Europa League.

Alexander was preferred in goal to first-choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor, with manager Walter Smith mindful of the CIS Cup final against Celtic in nine days' time.

The Rangers keeper was busy from the outset here. PSV began strongly and Marcus Berg had penalty claims waved away after going to ground in the penalty area under pressure from Madjid Bougherra. Alexander raced off his line to stop Berg reaching a slick pass from Ola Toivonen as the home side dominated, before Jeremain Lens had a shot blocked by Kyle Bartley.

Marcelo then headed wide following a flick-on from a Balazs Dzsudzsak free-kick but Rangers improved after the interval and a fine Richard Foster run almost found El Hadji Diouf before the ball was cleared.

Bartley, on loan from Arsenal, then came close to a crucial away goal only to see his header from a Diouf corner touched wide by goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson. Marcelo squandered a further chance for the hosts before Kyle Lafferty hooked wide for Rangers.

Smith's team were able to see out the remainder of the game safely and return to Glasgow with a valuable clean sheet for next Thursday's return leg at Ibrox.