Sport Soccer

Saturday 15 December 2018

Stabbings and mass brawls outside Ibrox mar Rangers' Europa League victory over Osijek

Football fans brawl outside Ibrox CREDIT: TWITTER
Football fans brawl outside Ibrox CREDIT: TWITTER
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Thursday night's Europa League victory for Rangers was overshadowed after two men were stabbed outside the stadium before the game.

Footage on social media appeared to show mass brawls between fans of the two clubs ahead of the second qualifying round second leg. The stabbing victims, aged 24 and 40, were taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and medical staff described their conditions as stable.

Witness Marianne Chirray wrote on Twitter: “Ibrox is chaotic! Flares being thrown, people getting kicked in the head – nightmare!”

On the park, Nikola Katic helped beat Croatian compatriots Osijek as his second-half goal was enough to see Rangers through. The centre-half headed home from close range eight minutes into the second half as the home side extended the lead given to them by Alfredo Morelos’ first-leg strike.

Borna Barisic became the first player to net against Steven Gerrard’s Gers with his last-minute strike, but the hosts clung on for a 2-1 aggregate win to set up a meeting with Slovenians Maribor in the third qualifying round.

With only a slender lead from last week’s clash at the City Garden Stadium, there was always bound to be an anxious air round Ibrox. Lassana Coulibaly should have settled the nerves four minutes in, but blazed over from close range ­after being picked out from Ryan Kent’s corner.

Osijek’s pressing early on forced Gers deep, but it was the hosts who almost came close as Ryan Jack sent Morelos scampering in behind. The angle was against the Colombian, though, as Osijek goalkeeper Marko Malenica gathered his low strike, doing the same when Daniel Candeias pulled the trigger from the edge of the box.

It took a brave block from Allan McGregor to deny Robert Mudrazija, while the keeper had to bail out Gers again as his defence went to sleep, first pulling off an acrobatic stop to deny Ezekiel Henty before leaping up to parry Petar Bockaj’s follow-up.

Only a last-gasp lunge by Alex Grgic early in the second period stopped Kent delivering a devastating blow as he connected with Coulibaly’s ball to the back post.But that only delayed the inevitable and from the resulting corner Gers struck. Malencia missed his attempted punched and Morelos nodded the ball back into the danger area and Katic got the decisive touch with his head to put daylight between the sides.

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