Rangers' chances of reaching the Champions' League were dealt a huge blow by Todi Jonsson's second-half equaliser in the first leg of this third round qualifying tie at Ibrox last night. It cancelled out Peter Lovenkrands' early opener and the away goal was fully deserved by the Danish champions.
Rangers' need to reach the group stage of the Champions' League has never before been so pressing given the weight of the club's debts. A 4-0 home victory over Kilmarnock on Saturday had got the domestic season off to a fine start and the home side's task was to get a result that could be protected in Copenhagen in a fortnight's time. That did not happen as the game petered out without a final Rangers charge.
The home side got off to a fine start when Mikel Arteta set up the opening goal in the seventh minute. Balazs Raboczki's punch away from Arteta's low delivery into the box reached only Lovenkrands at the back post and the striker rifled the ball home from six yards.
Copenhagen started the second half strongly and an equaliser always look likely. Jonsson provided it in the 51st minute, although there was an element of luck involved when a shot was deflected into his path, but there was no doubting the quality of the finish from the edge of the box.
Rangers: Klos, Ross, Moore, Khizanishvili, Ball, Ricksen, Ferguson, Arteta, De Boer, Lovenkrands, Mols. Substitutes: McGregor, Nerlinger, Malcolm, Vanoli, Thompson, Capucho, Berg.
FC Copenhagen: Raboczki, Rooba, Svensson, Norregaard, Albrechtsen, Tobiasen, Mykland, Nielsen, Roll Larsen, Jonsson, Zuma. Substitutes: Kihlstedt, Zivkovic, Bisgaard, Svard, Traore, Bech, Moller.
Referee: M E Mejuto Gonzalez (Sp).
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