Antwerp boss details big injury news ahead of defining EL clash v Rangers
Royal Antwerp suffered more goalkeeping misfortune on Sunday and they could be set to face Rangers with their third-choice goalkeeper.
The Belgian side travel to Ibrox on Thursday hoping to overturn the 4-3 deficit that the Gers accrued in Antwerp and those four away goals mean they will have to score twice without reply to stand any chance of progressing to the last 16 of the Europa League.
A 2-0 win would see them go through 5-4 on aggregate but a clean sheet seems like a herculean task for them after Alireza Beiranvand suffered another injury in their 0-0 draw with St Truiden on Sunday.
Beiranvand looked extremely shaky against the fearsome Light Blues attack and he was only keeping goal because regular stopper Jean Butez is still absent with his own impairment.
He was taken off in the latter stages of the game last Thursday and the fact he was kept on for as long as he was and rushed back to action for their latest league game suggests Antwerp boss Franky Vercauteren is not confident in his third-choice option Ortwin De Wolf.
As reported on the Daily Record website, Vercauteren was downbeat on Beiranvand’s chances of making the second-leg, saying: “It’s unlikely he will be ready for Glasgow, but we will give him every chance.”
Morelos primed to power Gers into last 16
Alfredo Morelos will be smelling blood.
The Colombian striker failed to get on the scoresheet in the reverse fixture between the two sides but he will be bidding to fire Steven Gerrard’s side into the last 16 and should be in confident form after Sunday’s 4-1 win v Dundee United.
It took the best part of an hour but Morelos scored the fourth and final Rangers goal of their Ibrox rout over the Tangerines and he will be licking his lips at facing Antwerp’s reserve goalkeeper.
If their sub stopper wasn’t up to much it doesn’t bode well for the next man in line and the Gers must punish this and go on the attack on Thursday.
We don’t expect the Light Blues to adopt a gung-ho approach but grabbing an early goal would settle any lingering nerves and probably put paid to any Antwerp hopes of progressing.
In other Rangers news, club beat off hefty competition to land highly-rated 15-year-old.