Numan sent off as Rangers slip

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Rangers' Champions' League destiny is still in their own hands despite a bitter defeat to Sturm Graz in Austria last night. But only just. A campaign that started so well is now in danger of collapse.

Rangers' Champions' League destiny is still in their own hands despite a bitter defeat to Sturm Graz in Austria last night. But only just. A campaign that started so well is now in danger of collapse.

Graz now top Group D and Rangers will need to beat Monaco - who beat Galatasaray 4-2 - in two weeks' time to guarantee qualification. That will be enough regardless of what happens to the other two teams when they meet in Istanbul that night, although a draw for Dick Advocaat's side and another Galatasaray defeat would also clear the way.

A goal from the former Millwall striker Sergei Yuran and an injury-time clincher from Gilbert Prilasnig settled this match as the Austrians did to the Scottish champions what they had already done to Galatasaray and Monaco at the Arnold Schwarzenegger stadium. To make matters worse, Arthur Numan and Bert Konterman will be spectators when Monaco come to Glasgow after Numan was sent off for two yellows and Konterman went over the disciplinary points barrier with a single caution.

Yuran's strike came in the 20th minute when Hannes Reinmayr found the Russian on the edge of the area with a neat piece of skill. His first touch was enough to give him the space he needed before picking his spot past the exposed Jesper Christiansen, who had been handed a debut following his hurried transfer from Odense.

Rangers had their moments, too, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst going close and Tugay Kerimoglu twice trying his luck from distance, winning a corner with one effort and forcing a routine save with another. Rod Wallace, who had not started for almost two months because of a hamstring injury, also tested the goalkeeper.

Yuran was a constant menace after the break and the away supporters looked visibly relieved when he was eventually taken off to a standing ovation. With their Champions' League future under threat, Rangers threw men forward and were caught out in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Prilasnig exploited the inevitable space at the back to slot neatly past Christiansen.

Sturm Graz: Schicklgruber; Neukirchner, Popovic, Korsos, Memedov, Schupp, Fleurquin, Prilasnig, Yuran (Strafner, 64), Reinmayr (Minavand, 46), Kocijan. Substitutes not used: Baruwa (gk), Foda, Feldhofer, Szabics, Koutsoupias.

Rangers: Christiansen; Porrini (Negri, 78), Konterman, Amoruso, Numan; Kanchelskis, Ferguson, Tugay, Van Bronckhorst (McCann, 55); Wallace (Dodds, 73), De Boer. Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Ricksen, Wilson, Ross.

Referee: A J Lopez Nieto (Spain).

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