Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport

Gerrard hails Morelos as Gers close in on knockouts

Feyenoord 2 Rangers 2

Tough battle: Rangers’ Borna Barisic and Glen Kamara battle with Feyenoord scorer Jens Toornstra
Tough battle: Rangers’ Borna Barisic and Glen Kamara battle with Feyenoord scorer Jens Toornstra
Ryan Jack applauds the travelling supporters
Steven Gerrard

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard hailed the "real Rangers" for standing up in Rotterdam to grab a point that leaves them on the brink of a place in the Europa League last-32.

The Ibrox side were outplayed by Feyenoord for 45 minutes and were lucky only to have conceded Jens Toornstra's deflected opener at the break.

But after urging his players to give more during the interval, the Light Blues boss got what he was looking for as Alfredo Morelos fired a record-breaking brace to surge Rangers ahead.

Gers were not out the woods yet, however, as Morelos' Colombia team-mate Luis Sinisterra hit back for Dick Advocaat's Dutch outfit to seal a 2-2 draw.

The result, combined with Porto's win over Young Boys, denies the Scots progress to the knock-out stages with a game to spare, but Gerrard's team do move to the top of Group G and can seal qualification with a draw against the Swiss side at Ibrox next month.

"I think it's a fair result," said Gerrard. "Feyenoord were better in the first half, I thought we were excellent in the second.

"In patches of the first half I didn't recognise us - what we stand for, our identity, what we've worked ever so hard for.

"I thought we were passive at times - and slightly lucky not to be further behind at half-time.

"They got a bit of luck with the goal but Feyenoord certainly deserved to be in front at the break.

"I asked for the real Rangers in the second half and we got it.

"We're really pleased and proud of the boys to be in this position. Of course, we would have liked to have got the job done today but can't control what happens elsewhere.

"This is a positive result even though you saw two sides of us today."

Gers are unbeaten at home in Europe under Gerrard but the boss did not want to be reminded of that ahead of their eagerly anticipated December 12 date with destiny against Young Boys.

"Don't jinx me," he smiled. "We'll go into the game with belief. We'll respect Young Boys.

"We would have taken his opportunity when we started out against St Joseph's that's for sure."

Gerrard declared before the match that even a bid of £50million would not tempt him to sell Morelos in January, and his prized asset showed once again showed why he is so vital to this Rangers side as he became the first Ibrox player to net in four games running with two stunning headers.

His double means he has also scored 13 times in Europe this term - beating the 16-year-old record previously held by Henrik Larsson's for a Scottish club.

His manager said: "Do you believe me now? He's not for sale. He's not for sale at any price!

"If you give the Buff that kind of service he got from Ryan Kent for the equaliser, he'll get you goals.

"There was none of that service around in the first half, not enough in the box. The second was similar, only that it was an out-swinging cross form Borna Barisic. Arguably second header better than first. That's what he's about. Two fantastic goals."

Feyenoord can still reach the knockout stage but former Gers boss Advocaat needs his team to overcome Porto in Portugal and hope his old side do them a favour against Young Boys.

"We knew Stevie would say something to them at half time but they had more possession without clear chances," Advocaat said. "Their striker is a great striker because he scored two goals, but for the rest of the time I didn't see him."

FEYENOORD: Marsman, Geertruida, Botteghin, Senesi, Malacia, Toornstra (Ayoub 85), Fer, Kokcu, Berghuis, Sinisterra, Larsson (Narsingh 69).

Subs not used: Van der Heijden, Johnston, Tapia, Evora, Burger.

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic, Jack, Davis, Kamara, Ojo (Arfield 77), Morelos, Kent.

Subs not used: Edmundson, Foderingham, Flanagan, Aribo, Barker, Stewart.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

Match rating: 8/10

Man of the match: Morelos

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph