Match Report: Bayer Leverkusen vs Rangers

By Jamie Currie
 August 7, 2020

Rangers have bowed out of the 2019/20 Europa League after losing 1-0 at the Bay Arena courtesy of Moussa Diaby’s second-half strike, which made the overall scoreline 4-2 in aggregate.

The pattern of play was clear from the opening stages, with Bayer Leverkusen having the majority of the ball.

However, it took the home side just eight minutes to get into their stride in an attacking sense. In a move that went from right to left, Lars Bender fed Diaby but the winger’s effort was deflected wide for a corner, which came to nothing.

Leverkusen continued to stamp their authority all over the half, Bender again, crossing the ball, Kevin Volland nipped in ahead of Filip Helander to set up Kai Havertz, who smashed his shot off the top of the bar.

The 21st minute brought Bayer a clear-cut chance. Exequie Palacios, who picked the ball up deep in midfield found Kai Havertz with a lovely floated pass; the no.29 should have scored but he passed his effort wide. It was a major let off for Rangers.

Rangers couldn’t get anything going attacking wise and they were almost made to pay for being slack in possession; Kent was loose by the corner flag allowing Leverkusen to break,  Florian Wirtz and Diaby combined but Diaby’s goal bound shot was blocked by Helander.

A first half that was all about staying in the match, but Rangers didn’t get enough from the front three and didn’t manage one shot on target.

The second half didn’t start any better and within five minutes Leverkusen had taken a deserved 1-0 lead. Poor midfield play allowing Charles Aranguiz to pick out Diaby’s out to in run behind Tavernier and he smashed it beyond Allan McGregor.

It was almost two nil moments later. Havertz was played through by Volland and almost capitalised on some Rangers defensive dithering – the visitors had Allan McGregor to thank for denying the wonderkid with his feet - producing a really good save.

Rangers were finished by this point in the time, and you could argue the third goal in the first leg sealed their Europa League last 16 fate.

With the tie over Rangers came into the game a little in the last half-hour, Connor Goldson saw his goal-bound header cleared off the line by Tapsoba.

And with 10 minutes to go Rangers had their best opportunity of the match. Substitute Ianis Hagi cut out Lukas Hradecky’s slack pass and the ball deflected into the path of Greg Stewart but his effort was blocked.

The run was a positive for Rangers and this tie was just one step too far. Overall, the European campaign has been a success and one for the fans and players to be proud of.

Teams

Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky, L. Bender (Dragovic 68), S. Bender (Tah 77), Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Aranguiz, Palacios (Stanilewicz 87), Wirtz (Baumgartlinger 68), Havertz, Diaby (Bailey 68), Volland.

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier (Patterson 77), Goldson, Helander, Barišić; Aribo, Jack, Barker (Hagi 60), Davis (Arfield 66), Kent (Jones 66), Morelos (Stewart 77).

Written by Jamie Currie (@jamiecurrie89)

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