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Unirea rejoice in Ibrox triumph

Rangers FC 1-4 FC Unirea Urziceni
Unirea secured their first UEFA Champions League win on a night of three own goals, including two in the second period for the visitors.

Unirea rejoice in Ibrox triumph
Unirea rejoice in Ibrox triumph ©UEFA.com

FC Unirea Urziceni recorded their maiden UEFA Champions League win after inflicting Rangers FC's second straight 4-1 home defeat in Group G on a night of three own goals.

Second place
Rangers hoped to have banished their Matchday 2 loss to Sevilla FC when Ricardo Vilana deflected into his own net in the second minute. But Marius Bilasco equalised midway through the first half and after Daniel Tudor had saved Steven Davis's penalty, the second period began with both Rangers substitute Kyle Lafferty and team-mate Lee McCulloch scoring for Unirea. Pablo Brandán's clinching fourth lifted the Romanian champions to second place in the pool, two points ahead of VfB Stuttgart.

Rangers ahead
Unirea coach Dan Petrescu made nine changes from the side that lost to SC Vaslui at the weekend with Tudor making his UEFA Champions League debut and the goalkeeper's first task was to pick the ball out of the net after less than 90 seconds. From the first corner of the game Jérôme Rothen picked out Pedro Mendes on the edge of the box and the Portuguese midfielder's shot took a massive deflection off Vilana before looping over Tudor into the net.

Unirea change
It was the perfect start for the home side and Mendes, back in the side after recovering from a thigh strain, was the architect of Rangers' next opportunity ten minutes later when Kenny Miller headed over from a free-kick. To their credit Unirea then settled and Petrescu demonstrated his attacking intent by sacrificing wing-back Epaminonda Nicu for another striker, Marius Onofraş. However, twice in the space of a minute, Rangers could have doubled their lead when Miller and Steven Naismith passed up presentable opportunities.

Yet Unirea made their pressure count just after the half-hour. Brandán was released down the left and his low centre picked out Bilasco, who slotted in from close range. Six minutes later Rangers had a penalty when Bruno Fernandes handled a David Weir header in the box, but Tudor dived to his right to deny Davis.

Visitors ahead
Walter Smith's response was to introduce Lafferty for Mendes at half-time as Rangers reverted to a 4-4-2 formation. However, it made little difference to the overall pattern of the game and indeed the substitute was in the wrong place when the visitors took the lead four minutes after the interval. A short corner was played to Iulian Apostol and his low cross was backheeled by Fernandes, taking the faintest of touches off Lafferty's left leg before nestling in the back of the net.

Victory sealed
To make matters worse for the home side, Unirea scored a third just before the hour and again it was an own goal, McCulloch diverting Tiberiu Bălan's free-kick past McGregor. An evening of deflections was completed when Brandán's free-kick took a touch off Naismith's boot to give Unirea their maiden European victory and leave Rangers rooted to the bottom of Group G as they prepare to visit Romania on 4 November.