Glasgow Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says he wishes his team had chalked up the convincing win his side deserved as they cruised to a 2-0 victory in their Europa League first-leg triumph over Luxembourg side Progres Niederkorn.
Former Liverpool skipper Gerrard watched on as the Ibrox outfit totally dominated open play but somehow managed to squander a hat-full of opportunities that means they still have plenty of hard graft ahead of them when they play the return of the second-round qualifying match.
Up against the side that left them red-faced and out of the competition two years ago, Rangers were rampant from the off but for whatever reason, they just couldn’t find the back of the net as much as their share of the play would have merited. As it stands, they must pay thanks for the two goals they did manage to grab; they came from Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo either side of the break.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Gerrard admitted his frustration at the profligacy in front of goal. He said:
“I’m frustrated we didn’t score more. We created enough on the night — you can see there was a gulf between the teams — but we haven’t got the rewards our performance deserved. We need to be more clinical to put these teams away because I really wanted to kill the tie on the night.”
Elsewhere, Wolves — back in European action after a 39-year hiatus — enjoyed a routine 2-0 victory over Irish League side Crusaders. The impressive Diogo Jota hit home in the 38th minute and the goal gave them the advantage that their dominance deserved. Indeed, such was the number of chances created, the home side should have been coasting by the break but, in fact, still only led by 1-0 as the whistle for the interval sounded.
Expectant Wolves fans thought they would see a goal glut after the break but a determined visiting outfit worked tirelessly to repel the constant stream of attacks and it was left until the last few minutes of injury time before Ruben Vinagre’s strike sealed the deal. It is only half-time, effectively, in the tie but you would imagine that the Premier League side would manage to go through one way or another with the return leg to come next week at Seaview.
Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo said that overall he was pleased with the result and added:
“We showed we are ready but not as sharp and accurate as we should be. Crusaders fought for every ball to prevent goals. It will be tough in the second leg. We will have to be focused in Belfast.
“The second goal makes a difference. To control the levels of anxiety during the game is tough. When a team are organised and fight for their lives, it’s difficult. It was a special night at Molineux, the atmosphere was good in front of around 30,000 fans.”