Rangers paid the price for another second-half capitulation as 10-man Malmo dashed their Champions League qualification hopes and relegated the Scottish champions to the Europa League with a 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) win at Ibrox.
Rangers, trailing 2-1 from the first leg, looked well on course to progress into the Champions League play-offs when Alfredo Morelos’ header leveled the tie on 19 minutes, before Bonke Innocent’s rather harsh dismissal for two bookable offenses on the stroke of half-time left the hosts with a man advantage.
But, just as they did in last week’s first leg in Sweden, a sloppy start to the second half cost Rangers dear as two clinical finishes from striker Antonio Colak turned the game and the tie on its head in the space of four minutes.
Malmo’s remarkable turnaround left the near-capacity crowd, inside Ibrox for the first time since March 2020, and Steven Gerrard’s players, shell-shocked, and there was no way back as the Swedish champions sealed a play-off tie with Ludogorets.
For Rangers, another season of Europa League football beckons, though they must overcome either FC Kairat Almaty or Alashkert FC in the play-offs to avoid dropping into the inaugural Europa Conference League.
More to follow…
Rangers host Dunfermline in the second round of the Scottish League Cup on Friday at 7.30pm, before traveling to Ross County in the Scottish Premiership the following Saturday at 3pm.