Rangers count cost of £30m Champions League exit
Blow: Steven Gerrard (pic: SNS Group).
Rangers 1 Malmo 2 (agg: 2-4)
Champions League 3rd qualifying round, 2nd leg
Rangers have been left counting the cost of a disastrous Champions League exit with defeat to Malmo seeing them lose out on a £30m jackpot.
Steven Gerrard had been dreaming of the group stages and the accompanying financial rewards but instead suffered a nightmare against the impressive Swedes, who played the entire second half with 10 men.
The loss sees Rangers now take on Alashkert of Kazakhstan or Armenians Kairat Almaty for a place in the Europa League group phase instead of Ludogorets in the Champions League play-off round.
It is scant consolation for a side which had waited a decade to experience Europe’s premier club competition.
Falling at the first hurdle could have ramifications closer to home for Gerrard, who may now come under pressure to sell some of his prize assets to keep the Ibrox bean counters satisfied.
It was Rangers’ third defeat in a row in a season which has yet to gain any momentum, a shock league defeat to Dundee United sandwiched between losses to Malmo in both legs of the third qualifying round tie.