Football Features

“Stam was right to worry about him”: Winners & losers from Rangers 1-0 Feyenoord

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:20, 19 September 2019

Rangers got their Europa League campaign off to a winning start, beating Feyenoord 1-0 at Ibrox.

Sheyi Ojo scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half, with Rangers managing to hold off late Feyenoord pressure.

So, who were the key winners and losers from the match?

Winner: Alfredo Morelos

Alfredo Morelos has divided opinion since his move to Rangers in 2017, with his reputation for playing on the edge sometimes overshadowing his ability.

In the build-up to the game, Feyenoord manager Jaap Stam highlighted Morelos as a danger man to his players and he was right to worry about him

The Colombian was excellent on Thursday evening, constantly working the Feyenoord defence, particularly focusing on Edgar Ie. He completed eight take-ons at Ibrox, more than any other player on the pitch, and only bettered by Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo across the whole of the Europa League.

Morelos arguably should have also earned his side a second penalty in the first half after he went down inside the area having shown neat footwork, but the referee felt the contact was not enough.

The only thing missing from Morelos’ night was the goal his performance deserved, with his six shots bringing two on target.

Loser: Edgar Ie

Rangers were dominant in the first half, with Morelos in good form, proving himself to be a nuisance for the Feyenoord defence. At the heart of that defence, and seemingly a target for Morelos, was Edgar Ie.

The 25-year-old just could not cope with Morelos at Ibrox, being out-paced and overpowered by the Rangers forward. At times, Ie looked like he didn’t want to be on the pitch defending against Morelos when the pressure was on.

Ie was also the one penalised for handball early on, giving Rangers the perfect opportunity to take the lead, though he was let off by James Tavernier hitting the post.

The defender did improve late on as Rangers’ attack tired but the damage was already done.

Winner: Sheyi Ojo

Rangers were extremely dominant in their Europa League win over Feyenoord on Thursday night, but they needed something special to break down the opposition defence.

That moment of magic came from Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo midway through the first half, as he picked the ball up 25 yards out a let a rocket shot fly into the left corner of the net – a goal good enough to win any game.

The 22-year-old was taken off with just under 20 minutes remaining as Steven Gerrard looked to add something different to their attack, but Ojo left the field to a well-deserved standing ovation.

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Loser: Jaap Stam

As good as Rangers were, and they should receive many plaudits for their performance, Feyenoord allowed the home side to dominate.

Stam’s men have had a strange start to the season, unbeaten but underwhelming in the Eredivisie, sitting sixth after two wins and three draws.

Although those two wins have come in their past two games, on Thursday night Feyenoord looked like a side that had been thrown together at the last minute, consisting of a group of strangers.

The Dutch side looked uncomfortable in defence, strange given Stam’s quality during his playing career, and would have been punished with more goals by a better team. Feyenoord also struggled in attack, failing to make the most of late pressure, with offensive players making the wrong decisions in key areas.

Winner: Allan McGregor

While Morelos was shining up front, veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor was undeniably the hero of the night, ensuring Rangers kept all three points.

The 37-year-old was simply unbeatable, making five saves in total, ensuring Feyenoord’s attacking had a frustrating evening but also still showing his agility, closing down players like a goalkeeper just starting out.

Naturally, McGregor also brought out the goalkeeping classics as Rangers looked to secure the win late on, waiting as long as possible before picking up loose balls, draining every second possible. It’s a tactic opposition fans hate, but a man of McGregor’s experience will never be afraid to dip into the old box of tricks when a win is within touching distance.

Winners: Rangers fans

The build-up to Thursday’s game was overshadowed by the sad news of Fernando Ricksen’s passing. The former Rangers and Netherlands midfielder died on Wednesday after a five-year battle with motor neurone disease having first been diagnosed in October 2013.

In honour of their former midfielder, Rangers fans made their clash with Feyenoord look like a Netherlands’ home game, with orange being the prominent colour in the stands – thanks to a fan campaign doing the rounds on social media.

On top of this, both sets of fans observed a perfect minute’s silence before the match, with Rangers supporters also breaking out into applause on the second minute, commemorating the number Ricksen wore for them.