Malmo v Rangers
Live on Premier Sports
A massive occasion for the Gers
Tuesday heralds the start of Rangers’ bid to reach the Champions League group stages, and it’s a massive occasion for those with a connection to the Scottish champions. Having impressed in the Europa League in each of the last two seasons, Steven Gerrard’s side are determined to perform on the big stage against Europe’s elite.
The most successful club in Scotland travel to the most successful club in Sweden on Tuesday for the first leg of this qualifying third round. There is no away goal rule this season which means the visitors can be a little more ambitious but must remain tight in defence as they aim to keep the tie alive for next week’s return leg in Glasgow.
Malmo back in the driving seat
Malmo are Allsvenskan champions, having won the league by nine points ahead of Elfsborg last year. This season has also gone to plan with The Blue Ones on a solid run of form and are the hot favourites to successfully defend their title. They have won nine, drawn two and lost two of their opening 13 games this season. Malmo are also the league’s top scorers, having found the net 31 times in those 13 starts, but they have conceded more than most sides in the top half.
Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side caught the eye when last in league action, scoring a 2-0 away win over Mjallby AIF. An own goal giving them the lead before Serbian midfielder Veljko Birmancevic found the net on the hour mark to put the game to bed. The host’s recent form shows they are unbeaten in five with that purple patch consisting of four wins and a draw.
Rangers eased past Livi
Rangers got the defence of their Scottish Premiership title off to a winning start on Saturday when easing past Livingston at Ibrox. The light blues were picked by most pundits to land all three points and lived up to expectations, taking the lead early through an Ianis Hagi strike. Second-half goals from Scott Wright and Kemar Roofe helped give the team a timely boost.
This is the Glasgow team’s first appearance in the Champions League since 2011, when Ally McCoist’s men crashed out at the third qualifying round. They were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by – you guessed it – Malmo. Rangers fans will see this as an ideal opportunity to right the wrongs of 10 years ago and show the club are back on the right path.
Gers’ Euro form makes them worth a bet
Malmo entered the competition in the previous round, and they progressed thanks to an aggregate win over HJK Helsinki. Anders Christiansen scored in both legs and will be an important player for the Swedes again. Malmo are available at 3.39/4 in the match winner market on the Betfair Sportsbook.
After a decade in the wilderness, Rangers are back at the top table of European football and will be desperate to signal their return with a win. Gerrard’s team are masters of the two-legged ties but won’t have the benefit of the away goal this time. Their domestic and European form makes them worth a bet at the 2.111/10 offered on the Sportsbook.
Visitors to keep things tight
Gerrard sends his teams into European competition to be defensive and organised, aiming to use the speed of Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos on the break. That’s what is expected again here, and under 2.5 goals looks worth a bet at 1.758/11. That makes more sense than over 2.5 goals at 1.9520/21.
Gers kept a clean sheet against Livingston at the weekend, and although this represents a huge leap up in class, the backline is more than capable of raising their game. The ‘no’ in the both teams to score market at 2.01/1 is worth a look.