Report: Maribor 2 Rangers 1
The Ludjski Vrt
After the disappointment of an early exit from the Champions League, Rangers desperately want to make amends by doing well in the Europa League. NK Maribor was not the worst draw in the world, after all Rangers had easily brushed them aside a few years back, but as it was to prove, the Slovenians were to be no pushover.
Rangers had a surprise late edition to their team with the signing of Carlos Bocanegra who had signed 24 hours earlier. He was in the back four along with Wallace, Broadfoot and Goian. McGregor was of course in goals. The midfield comprised of fit again Lee McCulloch, Edu, Ortiz and Davis, with Naismith and Jelavic up front.
Carlos Bocanegra looked a bit tired / nervy in the early stages of the game and got caught out a couple of times. McGregor had to be alert to keep Maribor at bay. It was Rangers however who took the lead just after half and hour, and it was a first competitive goal for Juan Manuel Ortiz. Broadfoot was getting a lot of joy down the left hand side and it was he who crossed into the box for Ortiz to convert from close range.
Rangers looked very comfortable at this stage and were creating lots of chances. Jelavic in particular had a couple of good chances but just couldn't convert. Rangers looked as if they could have taken a few of Maribor at this stage but will regret not taking their chances when Maribor later were to come from behind.
Agim Ibraimi got the home side back on level terms seven minutes into the second half with a sweet strike from 20 yards. There was nothing McGregor could do to stop the striker from the Macedonian international. Maribor completed their comeback with a goal deep into injury time. Dejan Mezga set up substitute Velikonja who back heeled the ball into the net.
Another disappointment then for Rangers but we can console ourselves in the fact that we got an away goal and hopefully we should be too strong for them at Ibrox. Kyle Lafferty making his comeback was also a plus point.
Maribor v Rangers Match Stats