No points from Scotland
Sparta played second match against Rangers in the Europa League group stage. After the match in Prague, this time we faced the Scottish team in Glasgow. The home team had a better start, and after twenty minutes, we were already 0-2 down. In the second half, Haraslín reduced the score and had also the opportunity to equalize, but unfortunately, that did not happen.
Sparta head coach Brian Priske sent to the line-up Angelo Preciado, James Gomez, and Jaroslav Zelený. Kuchta, Olatunji, and Birmančević started as a forward trio. Krejčí, Ryneš, and Panák couldn't play due to health reasons. Pešek didn't travel with the team because he expects the childbirth.
In the 6th minute, the first uncomfortable situation came. Cantwell quickly freed himself on the right side and tried to find Danilo in the box. Fortunately, Danilo missed the opportunity to threaten the goal, and the ball went out of the goal.
Unfortunately, in the 11th minute, there was a major mistake in the build-up play. Danilo used the opportunity and sent the ball behind Vindahl.
The home team had another chance in the 16th minute. Cantwell waited for the rebounded ball in the penalty area and fired, but Vindahl covered his shot.
Shortly after that, Sparta had a first chance. After a long throw-in, Gomez headed the ball, but the home goalkeeper Butland sent the ball to a corner. After the corner, Vitík shot wide of the three posts.
Unfortunately, the second Rangers goal came soon after. Danilo got to the ball after a long kick near the penalty area and passed to Cantwell on the right side of the box. After twenty minutes, the score was 0-2.
In the 28th minute, Sørensen unintentionally kicked the ball to Danilo, who immediately shot and hit the left post.
Seven minutes later, Tavernier tried to chop Vindahl, but he read the intention. The home captain then had another chance. After a free-kick, he aimed next to the left post.
In the 40th minute, there was a slip on the halfway line, Cantwell took advantage and run towards the goal. He aimed for a similar spot as before his goal, but this time Vindahl made a great save and kicked the ball away.Nothing more happened in the first half. So, 0-2 and at halftime.
At halftime, head coach Priske made some changes. Wiesner replaced Gomez, and Laci substituted Olatunji. Less than a quarter-hour in the second half, Haraslín replaced Sadílek.
A promising situation came after an hour of play. The home team lost the ball, Birmančević used the opportunity, found Kuchta on the right side, which crossed to the box. The ball rebounded to Haraslín, which sent a powerful header, but unfortunately aimed out.
In the first fifteen minutes of the second half, Rangers defended their lead. In the 71st minute, after a corner kick by Kairinen, Haraslín fired but his shot ended just beside the right post. The referees did not notice the touch and instead of another corner, a goal kick followed.
On the other side, McCausland and then three minutes later Jack threatened. Vindahl kicked away the first shot and he caught the second one in his arms.
But then it happened! In the 76th minute, Wiesner brilliantly played from the left side to the center. He then passed to Haraslín, who further moved the ball to the right to Preciado. He returned the ball into the danger zone for Haraslín 1-2!
Just a few seconds later, Danilo froze us again, scoring after a duel with Sørensen. However, the Rangers' striker fouled and after VAR intervention, the goal was disallowed. So, Sparta was only one goal down.
ima had a great chance shortly after that, controlling the ball in the box and attempting an acrobatic finish. Fortunately, he missed. On the other side, Haraslín had the equalizer on his boot in the 86th minute. He freed himself through Tavernier and shot near the right post but the goalkeeper saved the ball.
Sparta tried to equalize, but Rangers secured their lead. We are going back to Prague from Scotland after a 1-2 defeat. After four group stage matches, we have four points and are at the third place in the table.