How Belgium's press reacted to Rangers 3-2 Standard Liege win and Europa League progression

Belgium’s press were vastly complimentary towards Standard Liege,despite their departure from the Europa League to Rangers last night.

Merveille Bokadi of Standard Liege is challenged by Cedric Itten of Rangers during the UEFA Europa League Group D stage match . (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Merveille Bokadi of Standard Liege is challenged by Cedric Itten of Rangers during the UEFA Europa League Group D stage match . (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Beaten but now bowed seemed to be the overwhelming opinion from the Lowlands’ press.

Standard’s performance was improved from that seen on Sunday against Anderlecht and it was deemed a ‘hopeful’ ‘encouraging’ and ‘positive’ performance from the Belgian observers.

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Frederic Larsimont in Le Soir said Phillipe Montanier’s “reorganized team has nevertheless done better than to hold a shock on the lawn of Glasgow Rangers, who qualified.”

Joe Aribo of Rangers is challenged by Nicolas Gavory and Merveille Bokadi of Standard Liege (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Indeed Bob Faesen in the Standaard coined it ‘probably Standard its best half of this season’ for the opening exchanges.

And Het Laaste Nieuws agreed. “The Rouches played a strong first hour” before adding “Standard started the game best. In fact, it dominated. The Rangers were clearly caught cold by that early deficit, but gradually fought their way into the match. That was difficult, because Standard came out dangerous a few more times.”

The penalty award – deemed harsh by the BT Sport pundits watching alongside at Ibrox last night – was also a cause for controversy.

Faesen added: “The ref first pointed to the corner flag, but quickly corrected to a penalty. At the request of the fourth man? Either way, tough and sour for the Rouches. Tavernier did not fail and hung the signs right before half time. A shame, because Standard had probably had its best half of this season.”

For a positive look at the Liege campaign, which reached the ‘end of the course with honours for Montanier and his men’ according to Le Soir, Maxime Jacques, writing in L’Derniere Heure, added: “Goodbye Europe, but bravo to Les Rouches anyway. Standard will not spend the winter warm but delivered an encouraging game.”

There was also plenty of praise for Liege goalkeeper Arnaud Bardot who ranked highly in the man-by-man match ratings and in HLN for Duje Cop, scorer of the second goal who will “have a painful memory of Glasgow,” according to the title. Describing the injury he suffered converting from close range it explained: “He came into hard contact with the frame in a place where a man cannot bear it very well. His efforts were also of no avail, as Standard went down in the second half after a great game.”

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