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Gers facing a nervy return after failure to land an away goal

Legia Warsaw 0 Rangers 0

In discussion: Rangers duo Sheyi Ojo and Steven Davis talk tactics in last night’s game in Poland
In discussion: Rangers duo Sheyi Ojo and Steven Davis talk tactics in last night’s game in Poland
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard called it right with his prediction that Rangers' Europa League shoot-out with Legia Warsaw will go to the wire after his side were held to a goalless first-leg draw in Poland.

The Ibrox boss anticipated his side would be tested at the Polish Army Stadium by Aleksandar Vukovic's men, but Gerrard will be delighted by the composure his side showed in the Legia cauldron as they seek to reach the group stages for the second year running.

The Light Blues have work to do back in Glasgow next Thursday but then it will be down to the Poles to show they can handle the noise and passion generated by the Ibrox faithful.

Rangers recalled the 10 first-choice figures Gerrard rested against East Fife on Sunday, with Joe Aribo the only starter at Methil to keep his place.

The showdown pitted a defence that had not conceded in six Europa League ties this season against a Gers attack that had rattled in 19 goals in the competition so far.

This time, Rangers could not afford to sweep forward with the same abandon that had already taken them past St Joseph's, Progres Niederkorn and Midtjylland.

The Poles were rigid and organised and in Brazilian wideman Luquinhas had a player who would take no second invitation.

Sheyi Ojo came very close to silencing the Legia faithful eight minutes in. Jon Flanagan's fierce tackle on Cafu won possession in an advanced area before James Tavernier threw over a delicious cross, but on-loan Liverpool youngster Ojo put his header the wrong side of the post.

The hosts' response to that warning was instantaneous as Luquinhas cut in from the left to fire at goal. Allan McGregor did his team a favour by parring away from danger.

Legia's only other chance of the first half came on 31 minutes when Niko Katic went to ground but failed to stop Pawel Stolarski's pass finding Portuguese midfielder Cafu. Again, McGregor stood firm.

In the second half, Luquinhas found Valerian Gvilia in the box but the Georgian playmaker skied his effort.

But the game stretched again. Flanagan's last-gasp tackle on Sandro Kulenovic rescued the Scots at one end before goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki bailed out the hosts at the other end seconds later as Scott Arfield measured a fine pass for Alfredo Morelos.

Katic came close to handing Gerrard's men a precious away goal but his header drifted over from a Steven Davis corner

McGregor then had to maintain his earlier focus as he dealt with a late Marko Vesovic strike.

Legia: Majecki, Stolarski, Lewczuk, Jedrzejczyk, Martins Rocha, Soares Martins, Cafu (Antolic 71), Vesovic (Nagy 84), Gvilia, Luquinhas, Kulenovic. Subs not used: Jodlowiec, Wieteska, Lopez Huesca, Niezgoda, Cierzniak

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Flanagan, Arfield (Kamara 87), Davis, Jack, Aribo, Ojo, Morelos (Defoe 87). Subs not used: Helander, Foderingham, Jones, King, Barisic.

Man of match: McGregor Match rating: 6 Ref: Benoit Bastien (Fra)

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