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Rangers face Malmo on Tuesday night with the winner going on to play either Ludogorest or Olympiakos in the final round of qualifying before the Champions League Group Stage begins. Rangers have only played three games this season, winning one, drawing one and losing one. Meanwhile, Malmo top the Swedish Allsvenskan after 14 matches played.
Tuesday 20:00 – Rangers v Malmo
Premier Sports 1
Match fitness could well be the key here, even though the market has made the Scottish champions the favourites. Let’s dig into the stats and find a bit of value for you.
It’s worth beginning with saying that the last time Rangers were involved in Champions League football they lost 1-2 to Malmo on aggregate. Time will tell if history is repeating here. Malmo have played five Champions League games so far this season too, winning three and drawing two.
Of course, Rangers are a strong side at home. They’ve won eight of their last 10 on home soil, losing the other two – both of which were cup games.
Malmo are pretty strong on the road though, they’ve only lost two of their last 10 games on their travels, scoring a fairly healthy 18 goals. Rangers over their last 10 at Ibrox have scored 28 and conceded 10. Rangers were outclassed in Sweden last week, registering just one shot on target per half and were lucky to come away with a goal.
Over the weekend they lost 1-0 to Dundee United, again registering just one shot on target per half. Malmo have played 19 games in the league and the Champions League, losing only two, compared to just three played by Rangers. This is a game too early for Rangers, and the value is with Malmo in the Double Chance market here.
As mentioned above, Rangers have scored 28 and conceded 10 over their last 10 home competitive games, while Malmo have scored 18 and conceded 12. Over 2.5 Goals has landed in seven out of 10 of Rangers most recent home matches and in six of Malmo’s 10 most recent away games.
The pressure is really on Steven Gerrard’s men here and with them trailing 1-2 going into the game they have no option other than to go for it from the start. As such they’re obviously going to leave gaps around the pitch that Malmo’s attacking players will exploit as the match progresses. A rusty Rangers desperate for goals versus a side hitting their stride mid-season should result in a few goals on Tuesday night.
Malmo have drawn three of their eight away league games this season going into the half-time break and three of their five in the Champions League have also been level at the short whistle. So far this season two of Rangers three games have been level at the half-time break.
Malmo only conceded three first half goals over those eight away league games and only conceded one first half goal over their five in the Champions League. Rangers have to go for it, but Malmo’s defence is very tough to break down in the opening 45 minutes, we should see most of the action in the second half.
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