Rangers 1-0 Alashkert: Morelos secures first-leg lead after Lundstram red

Reuters

Alfredo Morelos scored the only goal of the game as below-par 10-man Rangers defeated Alashkert 1-0 in the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie at Ibrox.

The Colombian struck in the second half to give Steven Gerrard's men a lead for the return tie in Armenia, despite John Lundstram seeing red shortly before the break.

Save for a Ryan Kent effort that hit the crossbar, Rangers struggled to turn possessional dominance into chances in the opening period.

Lundstram's red for two sloppy yellow cards left the hosts a man down and Calvin Bassey's claims for what would have been a soft penalty summed up a shoddy first-half effort from Rangers.

Scott Wright also felt he was felled in the area by Rumyan Hovsepyan early in the second half before Morelos saw an effort cleared off the line by Didier Kadio and then headed woefully wide from Ianis Hagi's teasing delivery.

But it was third time a charm for Morelos, who drilled under the legs of Ognjen Cancarevic after beating the offside trap to reach James Tavernier's long pass in the 67th minute.

That proved enough for a Rangers side that were knocked out in the Champions League qualifiers by Malmo.

Europa League results on Thursday:
                  
Play-off round

1st leg
Omonia (CYP) 4 (Loizou 43, 56, Kakoulis 49, Atiemwen 84-pen) Antwerp (BEL) 2 (Benson 26, Miyoshi 62)
Randers FC (DEN) 1 (Laurenborg 54) Galatasaray (TUR) 1 (Akturkoglu 26)
Slavia Prague (CZE) 2 (Bah 33, Masopust 45+3) Legia Warsaw (POL) 2 (Emreli 20, Juranovic 37)
Mura (SLO) 1 (Skoflek 3) Sturm Graz (AUT) 3 (Jantscher 18-pen, Keteishvili 60, Yeboah 63)
Fenerbahce (TUR) 1 (Gumuskaya 65) HJK (FIN) 0
Olympiakos (GRE) 3 (Camara 37, Cisse 52, Bozhikov 68-og) Slovan Bratislava (SVK) 0
Rangers (SCO) 1 (Morelos 67) Alashkert (ARM) 0
Rapid Vienna (AUT) 3 (Fountas 29, Kara 78, Grull 86) Zorya Luhansk (UKR) 0
                  
Played Wednesday

Celtic (SCO) 2 (Furuhashi 12, Forrest 61) AZ Alkmaar (NED) 0
                  
Tuesday

Red Star Belgrade (SRB) 4 (Pavkov 5, Katai 38, El Fardou 68, Ivanic 77) CFR Cluj (ROM) 0


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