Slavia Prague vs Rangers
Live on BT Sport
Foxes win proves Prague are no pushovers
Rangers are involved in the Europa League Round of 16 for the second year in-a-row as Steven Gerrard’s Scottish Premiership champions aim to improve on last season’s efforts. They travel to Prague where they’ll face Czech First League champions Slavia.
Supporters of the Gers are enjoying a thrilling season that has already led the Glasgow club back to the top of Scottish football, shattering Celtic’s 10-in-a-row dreams in the process. Spirits are high in the camp, but Prague will be no pushovers having eliminated English Premier League side Leicester City in the previous round.
Sporting miracle in England
Slavia Prague saw off Premier League top-four hopefuls Leicester but needed a shock away win at the King Power Stadium to achieve it. The red and whites were held to a goalless draw on their own patch in the first leg of that Round of 32 contest, a result that gave them an uphill struggle in the second leg.
Prague went in as betting underdogs and were on the backfoot for most of the game but successfully hurt Brendan Rodgers’ side on the break. Second half goals from Lukas Provod and young striker Abdallah Sima saw them progress. Manager Jindrich Trpisovsky labelled his side’s achievement a sporting miracle and will believe Rangers are a step down in standard.
14-goal thriller sees Gers through
Followers of Rangers have become accustomed to watching Gerrard’s Gers defend and hit teams on the counter but that wasn’t the case against Belgian side Royal Antwerp. The aggregate score in that tie ended in a 9-5 win for Rangers who claimed a stunning 4-3 victory on their travels in the first leg. They may have leaked goals easily in the 180 minutes of football but had no problems finding the net.
Gers have been just as successful in the Scottish Premiership and hammered St Mirren at Ibrox on Saturday to clinch a historic 55th title. Celtic’s draw the following day at Dundee Utd sparked wild celebrations. Rangers will be eager to continue their incredible form but travel to Prague without injured captain James Tavernier.
Prague favoured for the home win
The pre-match betting available on the Betfair Exchange has Slavia Prague as favourites for the victory with 2.486/4. That’s understandable as they have home advantage and are filled with confidence following that deserved victory over a strong Leicester team last time.
It would be foolish to write off the chances of Rangers, however, a team that are in the last 16 of the competition for the second year despite starting in the qualifying rounds. Gerrard knows this is a step up in class from Antwerp but has every confidence in his troops. Rangers are 3.211/5 to win this game but the draw looks a better bet at 3.412/5.
Rangers will be more reserved
Rangers went toe-to-toe with Antwerp last time and Gerrard would have been disappointed to concede five goals in those two games. He’ll know they won’t get away with that sort of defending here. Antwerp did look fragile at the back, however, and Rangers pushed to exploit that. It’s unlikely they’ll adopt that strategy against a well-organised Prague.
Under 2.5 goals in this game can be backed at 1.774/5 on the Betfair Exchange and is an outcome that would likely suit Rangers. Taking no in the both teams to score market is 2.1211/10 and would have been a winning bet in each of Prague’s two games against Leicester.