Willem II 0-4 Rangers: Clinical visitors ease into Europa League play-off round

Willem II 0-4 Rangers: Clinical visitors ease into Europa League play-off round

Willem II v Rangers
Connor Goldson became the third defender to score when he planted in Rangers’ fourth

Clinical Rangers eased past Dutch side Willem II to set up a Europa League play-off against Galatasaray.

James Tavernier’s early penalty was his 50th goal for the club, before Ryan Kent pounced on a goalkeeping mistake a few minutes later to add a second.

Headers from centre-backs Filip Helander and Connor Goldson added gloss to a comprehensive win.

Rangers now must beat Turkish opposition in a one-off game next Thursday to reach the group stages.

The home side started brightly, with Vangelis Pavlidis striking the bar with a golden close-range opportunity, after Allan McGregor – in for Jon McLaughlin – fumbled a shot he probably should have dealt with.

Willem II continued to look dangerous, with the pacey Dries Saddiki causing problems down the right, but it was Rangers who drew first blood.

Tavernier coolly slotted in a penalty after Kent was brought down in the area and Kent added a second just a few minutes later, pouncing on a spill by goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter.

That was almost a carbon copy of a chance the Dutch side failed to take at the other end.

Kent then set up the third, after his inch-perfect cross was met with a strong header from Helander before a third Rangers defender got the fourth, Goldson turning a potentially tricky tie into a rout with another towering header.

McGregor made the match much more comfortable than it could have been with numerous great saves, while clinical play in attack secured a comprehensive win in Tilburg.

Man of the match – Ryan Kent

Ryan Kent and James Tavernier
McGregor was a strong contender for some superb saves, but Kent was involved in almost everything creatively for Steven Gerrard’s side, winning the penalty, scoring the second, and crossing for the third

What did we learn?

If not already apparent, Rangers have shown huge professionalism in the Europa League qualifiers under Steven Gerrard.

Since he took charge, the Ibrox side have not lost a qualifying game – never mind a tie – with 38 goals scored and only six conceded across 18 matches.

The clinical nature of their performance against Willem II, while keeping yet another clean sheet, will delight the Ibrox side.

What they said

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “I think everyone turned up tonight. Allan McGregor was outstanding in goal. It would have been a lot different if it wasn’t for him.

“From Allan down to [Alfredo] Morelos, everyone has taken responsibility. We said we needed a good European performance to get the job done and the players have provided that.”

What’s next?

Rangers are now 90 minutes away from a third successive Europa League group stage campaign.

But before Galatasaray arrive at Ibrox on Thursday, Rangers travel to Fir Park to take on Motherwell on Sunday (12:00 BST).

Line-ups

Willem II

  • 1Ruiter
  • 18NelomBooked at 27mins
  • 25Holmén
  • 4PetersSubstituted forvan den Bogertat 73′minutes
  • 27Kohn
  • 17SaddikiSubstituted forYeboahat 59′minutes
  • 23Saglam
  • 8LlonchBooked at 82mins
  • 7NunnelySubstituted forKöhlertat 60′minutes
  • 10PavlidisBooked at 81mins
  • 21Trésor

Substitutes

  • 9Gladon
  • 11Köhlert
  • 19Yeboah
  • 22van den Bogert
  • 26Brondeel
  • 43Spieringhs
  • 46van den Avert

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 5Helander
  • 31BarisicBooked at 5minsSubstituted forBasseyat 74′minutes
  • 37Arfield
  • 10Davis
  • 18Kamara
  • 7Hagi
  • 20MorelosBooked at 66minsSubstituted forIttenat 79′minutes
  • 14KentSubstituted forJonesat 72′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 9Defoe
  • 11Itten
  • 16Patterson
  • 22Jones
  • 26Balogun
  • 33McLaughlin




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