Rangers have work to do after narrow Champions League qualifying win over 10-man Servette at Ibrox

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​Rangers left themselves with work to do to see off Servette after a narrow 2-1 win over the Swiss side in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round at Ibrox.

Skipper James Tavernier scored a penalty in the sixth minute before striker Cyriel Dessers knocked in a second eight minutes later for his first Gers goal.

The Light Blues were in command but, just before the break, Servette attacker Chris Bedia reduced the deficit from the spot after the VAR intervened to flag up a Dessers handball.

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Servette’s hapless David Douline, who conceded the penalty for a foul on Todd Cantwell, was sent off in the 59th minute for picking up the second of two yellow cards for a foul on the Light Blues midfielder to leave his side with 10 men for more than half an hour.

Rangers' Cyriel Dessers celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Servette in a 2-1 victory at Ibrox on Wednesday nightRangers' Cyriel Dessers celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Servette in a 2-1 victory at Ibrox on Wednesday night
Rangers' Cyriel Dessers celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Servette in a 2-1 victory at Ibrox on Wednesday night

However, the resolute visitors prevented further damage and will fancy their chances of turning the tie around in Switzerland next Tuesday night.

Michael Beale was under some early pressure after losing 1-0 to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the cinch Premiership opener on Saturday, where six of his nine new signings made their debut and this will not have helped his cause.

Changes were required following the dismal performance in Ayrshire and Beale brought in Cantwell, Ryan Jack and Danilo for John Lundstram, Kieran Dowell and Abdallah Sima.

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The visitors had eight players missing through either injury or suspension. If that offered hope to Gers fans so did the early penalty awarded by Lithuanian referee Donatas Rumsas after Cantwell was clumsily challenged by Douline inside the penalty area.

Tavernier slammed the spot kick down the middle with Servette keeper Joel Mall diving to his left and Ibrox was energised.

Defender John Souttar instigated Gers’ second goal with a driving run out of defence before playing the ball wide to left-back Borna Barisic, whose low cross was missed by Danilo but not by Dessers from a few yards out.

The Swiss side looked less than convincing.

Danilo tested Mall with a drive a few moments later, the keeper gathering at the second attempt before the game entered a lull.

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At the other end, in the 35th minute, Gers keeper Jack Butland had to deal with a decent long-distance drive from Jeremy Guillemenot.

Then, following a swift Rangers counter which involved Danilo and Dessers, Nicolas Raskin set up Sam Lammers with a cross but the forward missed the target from six yards.

The game took an unexpected twist when the game stopped in the middle of the pitch for a foul and referee Rumsas went off to check his monitor at the behest of the VAR and, after he returned to point to the spot, Bedia slammed the ball past Butland.

In the 54th minute Servette keeper Mall made a great save from Lammers’ drive from point-blank range and the visitors survived the corner before they were reduced to 10 men after Douline, booked in the first half, was cautioned again and dismissed for a foul on Cantwell.

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Sima replaced Danilo in the 65th minute and Rangers pushed their opponents back towards their own penalty area but Mall was standing firm and he dived to save another shot from Dessers.

Ecuador midfielder Jose Cifuentes replaced Jack in the 78th minute to make his Rangers debut with Dowell on for Lammers, but the home side ran out of ideas and now face a stern test next Tuesday.