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Wednesday, December 07, 2005 

Lovenkrands edges Rangers through (Rangers 1 - Inter 1)

Rangers squeezed into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday as they battled to a 1-1 draw with Inter. The Gers claimed second in Group H - behind the Italians - to become the first side from Scotland to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

Inter, who were already qualified before this match, took the opportunity to bring in a few young players, notably Marco Andreolli who gained his first Champions League start. Roberto Mancini did bring out the big guns as well, giving both Adriano and Obafemi Martins starting berths.

The first minutes of the match were dominated by Rangers although they did not really create much in the way of clear scoring opportunities. Inter were content to sit back and wait out the storm. Once the pressure from Alex McLeish's men let up, Inter started putting their game into place.

It was not Inter at their best but a series of corner kicks taken by Sinisa Mihajlovic eventually paid off. The corner came in and Adriano sent a header into the back of the net. Round about a half of an hour gone and Inter were 1-0 up.

Inter looked to be in control of the match going towards half time but in the 38th minute Lovenkrands beat the offside trap and went one on one with Inter keeper; Francesco Toldo. He took the goal well to put Inter back on level terms.

1-1 was the score at the break. The second half was nothing to write home about. Neither side seemed particularly inclined to look for a winning goal. Things turned scrappy, with some heavy challenges going in.

HIGH TENSION

Both sides had a few half chances, but really neither keeper was tested during the second 45 minutes of the match. Going up towards the 70 minute mark there was a bit of a bust up between the two sets of players.

At the heart of it was, according to the Inter players, a foul on Andreolli. The youngster looked to be in considerable pain and had to be replaced by Javier Zanetti. The referee, Mr. Plautz, was slow in getting the match back under control.

Tensions were clearly running high towards the end of the match with Rangers' players not knowing if they were through to the next round or not. In the 87th minute, Cristiano Zanetti picked up a second yellow card and was sent off. It was a silly sending off and Zanetti will now be unavailable for the first leg of the next round.

The final whistle went and an entire stadium held its breath, waiting for confirmation of the 0-0 score in Bratislava between Artmedia Bratislava and Porto. Confirmation came and Ibrox exploded in joy.

The Champions League is the only thing saving Rangers' season at the moment and for now at least they continue on in Europe's premier competition.

Man of the Match: Peter Lovenkrands - He took his goal well and set the stage for a historic moment of Rangers history.

source: eurosport.com, inter.it.

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