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RB Leipzig
Angeliño (85)

Angeliño thunderbolt gives Leipzig first-leg victory over Rangers

By Ultan Corcoran   @UltanCorcoran

Although Leipzig's attack failed to muster up their typically electric best, Angeliño's 85th minute stunner means Tedesco's charges take a 1-0 lead to Glasgow.
Angelino.Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0
RB Leipzig got the first leg of their maiden UEFA Europa League semi-final tie underway tonight against Glasgow Rangers. Having ruthlessly dumped fellow Germans, Borussia Dortmund, out in the preliminary knockout round of said competition, Leipzig were visibly aware of the threat this Scottish side possessed. Rightly so, Domenico Tedesco opted to field a strong team with one or two twists – most notably the absence of an out-and-out number 9, opting for Olmo instead flanked by Nkunku and Szoboszlai.

The Glaswegian outfit came to Saxony with one plan in mind and that was remain compact whilst posing a threat on the break, evident by their 5-3-2 setup. This worked well for them in the opening 15 minutes as they limited the home side’s chances. Nkunku’s first real opportunity fell moments later when Heinrichs picked him out, but he was blocked impressively by the frame of Bassey.

Leipzig came close on the half hour mark when Szoboszlai and Olmo linked up well on the right. The cleared ball landed perfectly for the on-rushing Angelino who volleyed a goal bound effort only for it to be heroically blocked by Tavernier. Nonetheless, Leipzig lacked the catalyst to breakdown the defensively stout Rangers’ rear guard inside the opening 45 minutes as a scoreless half ebbed towards the interval.

Rangers started the more threatening of the sides when the fleet footed Ryan Kent went on the attack. After turning Klostermann inside out, the tricky winger marginally dragged his effort less than a foot wide of the right post with Gulacsi merely an onlooker. Oribo teed up Tavernier on the subsequent attack, but his shot was deflected out for a corner that resulted in nothing. Nkunku blasted a powerful drive towards goal at the other end – in the end a 40-year-old McGregor was alive to the danger.

The 70th minute presented the best chance of the night for Tedesco’s outfit. Most would have expected the ball to ripple the net when Nkunku rounded McGregor in the box, however some last gasp Lundstram pressure meant the Frenchman skied his strike over the bar. Silva and Forsberg replaced Szoboszlai and Olmo with the hope of providing that much needed focal point that was missing in attack with 20 minutes to play.

American youngster Tyler Adams drew a fine save out of McGregor on 84 minutes albeit centrally struck. Nonetheless the effort forced a corner, and it was at this moment when Die Roten Bullen made it 1-0. Angeliño couldn’t have struck the headed clearance any better as his volley nestled in the bottom left corner to the delight of the somewhat nervy home crowd.

In the end, Leipzig did enough to secure the first-leg victory and take a slender advantage to Ibrox ahead of next Thursday’s return leg.

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