Super Eagles duo of Leon Balogun and Joe Aribo were in action but ended on the losing side as Rangers got knocked out in the third qualifying round of the Champions League to 10-man Swedish club Malmo on Tuesday night.
Going into the reverse fixture at home, Rangers needed to overturn the 2-1 first-leg deficit, but lost by the same score line to go out 4-2 on aggregate.
Despite being reduced to ten men following the sending off of Nigerian midfielder Bonke Innocent before half time, the Swedish side scored twice through Antonio Colak after Alfredo Morelos had given Rangers an early lead.
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Rangers started on the front foot, consistently testing the visitors’ back line and creating a number of half chances before taking the lead in the 18th minute
Ryan Kent was the provider, swinging in a cross that Alfredo Morelos rose to guide into the net, with the ball coming off the Colombian striker’s back.
The hosts were on top and the capacity crowd were roaring them on as they went in pursuit of a second goal to put the tie in their favour.
Their hopes increased when Innocent picked up his second yellow card in a matter of minutes for a challenge on Connor Goldson, leaving Malmo down to ten men just before half time.
Despite being a man down, the Swedish side began the second half as the stronger side and after 52 minutes they got their reward.
Valjko Birmancevic played a reverse pass to Antonio Colak and the Croatian striker spun and hit a low shot across Allan McGregor and into the net.
Five minutes later Malmo took the lead. A throw-in found Colak unmarked and he took a touch before smacking his shot past McGregor, silencing the Ibrox crowd.
Rangers made attacking changes as they pursued the goals they needed to keep them in the competition but Malmo remained organised and saw out time to take their place in the play-off round.
Steven Gerrard’s side will now drop into the Europa League play-offs where they will play Kairat Almaty or Alashkert.