Rangers miss chance to impress

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The Independent Online

Rangers took a step closer to the Champions' League at virtually walking pace in Lithuania last night. An unremarkable scoreless draw never threatened to come alive as the home side struggled to exert any pressure in this second qualifying round, second leg.

Rangers took a step closer to the Champions' League at virtually walking pace in Lithuania last night. An unremarkable scoreless draw never threatened to come alive as the home side struggled to exert any pressure in this second qualifying round, second leg.

The real work for Rangers was done last week at Ibrox in a 4-1 victory, which meant this game resembled little more than a training exercise for long periods. What might worry their head coach, Dick Advocaat, is that Rangers, despite dominating proceedings in terms of possession, were unable to put away any of the chances created - and that failing could well be punished next week. The Danish champions, Herfolge, now take on Rangers for a place in the first group phase of a competition in which success is vital to the Glasgow club's season.

Rangers did have the ball in the net with five minutes remaining when a Bert Konterman header was disallowed for a foul - but they could easily have lost the game but for Giovanni van Bronckhorst heading a late effort from the Lithuanians off the line.

In last season's Champions' League, Rangers beat the likes of Parma and PSV Eindhoven but showed little of that form and will need to improve rapidly in time for the Herfolge tie.

After making five changes from the first leg, Rangers missed a good opportunity to move ahead in the ninth minute when Fernando Ricksen found himself clean through only to strike the bar, and from therebound Rod Wallace managed to head over an open goal.

It was the half-hour mark before the Lithuanians threatened as Audrius Zuta - who scored his side's away goal last week - got free of both Tugay Kerimoglu and Lorenzo Amoruso but shot straight at Stefan Klos.

After 47 minutes, Wallace drove an angled shot narrowly wide of the mark when in a position to do better. After 65 minutes, Rangers went close again through Claudio Reyna's free-kick, but increasingly it seemed that both teams had settled for the draw.

Zalgiris Kaunas: Padimanskas; Kancelskis, Danilicevas, Guodeikis, Dezykornodas, Zuta, Mika, Regelskis, Ksanadicius, Dedura, Zelmikas. Substitutes: Galgota, Puotkalis, Velicka, Kurskis, Kunedidius.

Rangers: Klos; Ricksen, Konterman, Amoruso, Vidmar, Ferguson, Reyna, Van Bronckhorst, Tugay, Dodds, Wallace. Substitutes: Brown, Kanchelskis, Miller, Porrini, Johnston, Ritchie.

Referee: F de Bleckÿre (Belgium).

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