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Larsson joy as Malmö get it right on the night

Daniel Larsson felt "it couldn't have gone much better" for Malmö FF after his goal left Rangers FC needing to make club history to deny the Swedish champions a play-off spot.

Malmö coach Rikard Norling
Malmö coach Rikard Norling ©Getty Images

Goalscorer Daniel Larsson said Malmö FF got Rangers FC "where we wanted them" at Ibrox as a 1-0 first-leg win left the Swedish side with a superb chance of reaching the UEFA Champions League play-offs.

The 24-year-old fired the ball in after being set up by team-mate Wílton Figueiredo on 18 minutes, and the visitors might have extended their lead but for some fine stops from Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor. "The back-heel [from Figueiredo] rolled perfectly for me," said Larsson. "I could just let it rip. Whether it's my most important goal ever remains to be seen; it depends on what happens in the return leg."

Ninth in the Swedish table after 17 games, the Allsvenskan champions showed a sharpness in Glasgow that belied their stuttering domestic form. "We got [Rangers] where we wanted them," said Larsson. "We closed down the centre of the field and made them put in crosses. Defensively and tactically, it couldn't have gone much better."

However, the tie is not over, as Larsson is well aware. "We can except them to come at us at home. It's probably ten times as important, for financial reasons, for Rangers to go through than it is for us."

His coach Rikard Norling was not getting too carried away either. "We have to remind ourselves who we're playing in the return leg," said the 40-year-old. "We played a really good match and I don't think they're particularly happy with theirs. We have to be at our best [next week]."

In his first European game since stepping up to replace Walter Smith, Rangers manager Ally McCoist, 48, was not best pleased, not least as in 55 years of UEFA club football, the Light Blues have never come back from losing a home leg to win a European tie.

Nonetheless, McCoist – the club's 355-goal record scorer – said: "I really do believe we can go over to Sweden and score. As disappointed as we all are, the tie is far from over. You have to say they looked sharper and fitter than us in the first half and we will have to be sharper in the second leg, and I am determined we will be."


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