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Champions League qualifying – Late Steven Davis strike gives Rangers hope following first leg defeat to Malmo FF

Steven Davis struck in the fifth minute of added time to give Rangers hope following a 2-1 defeat away to Malmo FF in the first leg of their Champions League third round qualifier.

The Scottish champions are bidding to reach the group stage of Europe’s elite competition for the first time in 10 years but looked to be in deep trouble when Soren Rieks and Veljko Birmancevic struck two in two minutes at the start of the second half.

Steven Gerrard’s men, who were without Alfredo Morelos, Glen Kamara, Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun, struggled to carve out clear-cut chances in response but snatched a lifeline deep in stoppage-time when Davis flashed the ball home from the edge of the area.

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Speaking to Rangers TV after the match, boss, Gerrard said: “It’s not the position we wanted to be in but it’s a lot better than going in at 2-0. We were also on the verge of it going worse as well.

“We’re going to have to go up levels individually and collectively for next week. In my honest opinion there are six or seven that need to raise their level and raise it sharply.”

The Rangers boss added: “We had two magnificent performances. Filip Helander, who I thought was outstanding, and Steven Davis.

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I’m running out of plaudits for Davo. He’s someone that doesn’t give up. He keeps going to the end and he’s someone that’s provided a real big moment that’s given us an important lifeline going into next week.”

Rangers will now switch their attention to the Scottish Premiership clash with Dundee United at lunchtime on Saturday before aiming to overturn the 2-1 deficit against Malmo next Tuesday night.

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