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Lovenkrands completes comeback

Published: Tuesday 16 September 2003, 23.42CET
Rangers FC 2-1 VfB Stuttgart Two late Rangers goals scupper the newcomers in Group E.

Match statistics


Goals scored2
Attempts on target6
Attempts off target3
Fouls committed22
Yellow cards5
Red cards0



P: Played   
Pts: Points   
Last updated: 20/11/2017 15:47 CET
Published: Tuesday 16 September 2003, 23.42CET

Lovenkrands completes comeback

Rangers FC 2-1 VfB Stuttgart Two late Rangers goals scupper the newcomers in Group E.

By Alex O'Henley in Glasgow

Rangers FC secured a sensational 2-1 victory in their opening Group F game at Ibrox after coming from behind to defeat VfB Stuttgart.

Second-half goals
The Bundesliga side travelled to Glasgow without having conceded a goal in domestic football this season but second-half strikes from Christian Nerlinger and substitute Peter Lovenkrands secured Rangers a vital three points as they celebrated their return to the UEFA Champions League after a three-year absence.

Early storm
Having weathered an early storm, Stuttgart battled their way into the game and could have gone ahead after 14 minutes. A good passing movement down the left side released Alexander Gleb, but Rangers goalkeeper Stefan Klos came quickly off his line to smother his low shot.

Fine save
However, Gleb nearly set up a goal for Rangers as he conceded a free-kick just outside the box. Mikel Arteta's high delivery found Paolo Vanoli alone just metres from goal, and his header looked goal-bound but goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand managed to parry.

Heroic block
From the resulting corner, Arteta swung in another high cross and although Stuttgart cleared their lines, Emerson kept up the pressure by floating a delicate chip from the edge of the box which found Shota Arveladze unmarked. It seemed as though the Georgian international would score, but before he could set his sights Hildebrand raced off his line to make a magnificent block.

Added time
Rangers lost Fernando Ricksen shortly afterwards following a clash of heads with one of his own players and the resulting delay meant that four minutes of added time were played at the end of the first half. With seconds to go before French referee Gilles Veissière blew for half-time, Stuttgart shocked Rangers by taking the lead.

Simple finish
A free-kick was conceded 25 metres out and when Marcelo Bordon's powerful right-foot shot bounced back off the base of Klos's left-hand post, Kevin Kuranyi was on hand to tap the ball into the unguarded net and score his first goal of the season.

Rangers changes
Rangers responded by bringing on Lovenkrands for Vanoli at the start of the second half. It initially made little difference as Stuttgart sought to consolidate their lead. Magath's young side pushed forward at every opportunity and a low fizzing shot from Kuranyi almost caught out Klos low to his left.

Arveladze chance
With 25 minutes left Alex McLeish replaced the Brazilian Emerson with former FC Porto winger Nuno Capucho as Rangers went in search of an equaliser. Almost immediately they should have been back on level terms. A Michael Ball cross from the left found Arveladze on his own on the edge of the area but his shot was straight at Hildebrand.

Rangers equalise
However, just when it looked as though Rangers were out of ideas they came back with a goal from Nerlinger after 74 minutes. The former German international tried to find Mols on the edge of the box and chased the ball into the area when his team-mate failed to control. It fell kindly for him to sweep past Hildebrand.

Sensational winner
Then Rangers scored the winner on 79 minutes. Lovenkrands burst past two defenders before unleashing a fierce shot from 20 metres which took a deflection on its way past Hildebrand to get Rangers' campaign off to the best possible start.

Last updated: 17/09/03 10.20CET