'Rangers were sophisticated, disciplined, unyielding' - Belgian media reacts to Standard Liege 0-2 Rangers
While Celtic went down 3-1 at home to AC Milan in the first round of Europa League group games, Rangers recorded a 2-0 victory in Belgium against Standard Liege.
The Jupiler Pro League outfit had gone 15 home games in Europe without defeat, and were also playing their 250th continental game. Sadly for the hosts, there was to be no happy outcome, and the country’s media had plenty to say on the match.
Frank Dekeyser of Het Laatste Nieuws gave us an insight into his musical tastes with his take on the match: “Scottish singer Shirley Manson of Garbage sang in the mid-1990s, "I'm only happy when it rains."
“She would have felt great at Sclessin last night. About ten minutes into the second half, the rain was pouring down from the sky. Water everywhere. Balls got stuck, playing football became very difficult. Water polo in Liège.”
Dekeyser also praised the visitors, writing: “The 2,880 fans knew it would be difficult against Rangers – a sophisticated, disciplined team. Unyielding.
"The Scots coped better in the bad weather.”
Het Laatste Nieuws also carried quotes from manager Philippe Montanier, who said: “We couldn’t score from seven metres, they did from 40. That sums the game up completely. I don’t think their goalkeeper had a save to make in the second half. If you play in the Europa League against Rangers and you aren’t motivated, then you have to find another job. The boys didn’t do it on purpose. They are disappointed and frustrated.”
Het Nieuwsblad spoke to Standard players Samuel Bastien and Arnaud Bodart, with midfielder Bastien admitting: “We weren't up to standard, it was an off-day.
“We hit the crossbar twice, and after the break it became difficult due to the weather. But those are not excuses.”
Goalkeeper Bodart added: “We had chances in the first half, but after the break we started badly. We never had an opportunity to get back into the game. We were not up to standard.”
De Standaard’s correspondent wrote: “[In the second half] Liege were in control, but had a hard time playing football as a result of the thunderstorm.
"Water fell from the sky, the ball always got stuck in a puddle – normal football had become impossible.
Le Soir focused on the scuffle following Kemar Roofe's goal, writing: “Tempers frayed at the end of the match with [Standard assistant boss] Eric Deflandre somewhat lighting the blue touchpaper.
“Montanier's assistant confronted Roofe at the final whistle to criticise him for his actions after the goal.”
The publication also clarified that Roofe's hand gesture after the goal was a tribute to his children Alarnie and Luna and not a reference to Anderlecht, whom the striker played for prior to joining Rangers.
Bob Faesen of Het Belang van Limburg added: “A milestone, in a minor key. Standard lost their 250th European match. Rangers won in a rain-soaked Liege thanks to a penalty and a worldy.”
Writing in La Dernière Heure, Kevin Sauvage said: “In the second half, Philippe Montanier took advantage of the new substitution rules and brought on three strikers. The aim was to bolster the attack and put balls into the box.
"But the plan didn’t work; firstly because the balls weren’t forthcoming, but when they did reach their destination, the fireworks were missing.”
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