In semi-final Europa League action, both Tyler Adams and Timothy Chandler’s teams came out on top, meaning they take slender leads into the second leg where they will hope to make it an all-German final.
RB Leipzig 1 – 0 Rangers
Glasgow Rangers traveled to Germany with apparently one thing in mind – defend and start the second leg in Scotland all square. But the plan didn’t pan out as the Gers, who gave American James Sands just seven minutes on the field as a sub, couldn’t keep a clean sheet on the night.
Tyler Adams went the distance for RB as they found the back of the net just five minutes from regulation time, thanks to a wonder goal by their Spaniard, José Ángel Esmoris Tasende.
Although the Germans dominated the first half, they had nothing to show for their superiority in possession as the Scottish lads opted for a formation with a back five where they parked the proverbial double-decker bus in front of their goal. Breaking the visitor’s resilience seemed impossible though both Tasende, aka Angeliño, and Christopher Nkunku should have done better with their chances presented themselves.
Nkunku was having a night to forget as the striker had a fine shot after the intermission but keeper Allan McGregor made a half-decent save. His best chance of the game came in the 70th minute after the Frenchman rounded McGregor but with an empty goal looming, he put his effort over the crossbar.
It was the Spanish defender who became the hero with just five minutes left on the clock. A corner was cleared out of the box but fell to Angeliño, who stuck on the volley and sent it into the back of the Scottish net for the game’s only goal.
Although it’s a slim lead, the Gers will fancy their chances next Thursday at their Ibrox fortress as they will look to overturn the deficit and find their way into the final. Before that game, however, they have yet another Old Firm derby to contend with on Sunday afternoon.
Leipzig will head to Borussia Monchengladbach for a Monday evening clash as they hope to hold onto a top-four spot in the Bundesliga.
Tim Chandler had to settle for a seat on the bench at the Olympic Stadium where his Frankfurt side came out on top against West Ham United in London by a 2-1 scoreline. The second leg will be played at Deutsche Bank Park next Thursday. Before that, however, will be a trip to take on Bayer Leverkusen in Bundesliga action.