RB Leipzig 1-0 Rangers: Wonder strike from Angelino gives Germans the edge

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A stunning volley from Angelino gave RB Leipzig a 1-0 win in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final with Rangers on Thursday.

Domenico Tedesco's men were the aggressors for much of the game, but the Bundesliga side struggled to create chances against a resolute Gers backline, until the former Manchester City left-back's strike with five minutes remaining.

Leipzig dangerman Christopher Nkunku – who has 30 goals and 16 assists in all competitions this season – was unable to add to his tally, with the visitors keeping the Frenchman relatively quiet at Red Bull Arena.

It was not quite the famous night in Germany that Rangers experienced earlier in the campaign when they beat Borussia Dortmund 4-2 at Signal Iduna Park, but with just a one-goal deficit, it leaves the tie open ahead of the second leg at Ibrox next week.

Despite a dominant start, the closest Leipzig came in the first half was when Konrad Laimer managed to break down the left side of the Rangers penalty area, but his shot was well blocked by Connor Goldson.

The Scottish side were happy to sit deep and try and release Ryan Kent and Scott Wright with long balls, which could explain why their pass completion percentage in the first half was just 66.9.

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst's side had their first real chance early in the second half when Kent received the ball in space on the left, before beating his man on the outside and firing a shot across Peter Gulacsi's goal, but wide.

The first shot on target arrived in the 53rd minute as Nkunku hit a strong effort from just outside the box, which Allan McGregor palmed away, with the former Paris Saint-Germain attacker then somehow missing the target after rounding McGregor with 20 minutes to go.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 85th minute when a corner from Nkunku was headed away by Fashion Sakala, only for Angelino to volley the ball back through everyone and past the despairing dive of McGregor as the German side take a slender lead to Scotland.

What does it mean? Tedesco's men have a lead to defend

Leipzig went into this tie as the favourites, and will have probably hoped to give themselves more than a one-goal cushion ahead of the second leg, especially given their opponent's record in Germany.

Rangers had won just two of their last 24 matches in European competition away to German opposition (D9 L13) prior to tonight, although one of those wins came at their last such attempt, defeating Dortmund in February.

The late goal will have hurt Van Bronckhorst, but with the loud Ibrox faithful behind them next week, Rangers will feel they can still get back into the contest next Thursday.

Gameplan almost works for Gers

The first half was very one-sided, with Rangers barely getting out of their own half, although they limited Leipzig to just four shots, and none on target in the first 45 minutes.

Rangers had more shots in the first six minutes of the second half (three) than they had in the entire first half (two), and it was clear they were trying to up the ambition to steal a lead on the break, before Angelino's brilliant volley.

Nkunku struggles to impose talent

Nkunku has been a sensation this season, and it is no wonder he is constantly being linked with a big-money move to one of European football's giants.

Rangers managed him relatively well, though, on this night, despite his surprising miss in the second half after getting away from McGregor.

The 24-year-old had four shots on the night, with just one on target, and lost the ball 14 times without winning it back once.

What’s next?

Leipzig travel to Borussia Monchengladbach in Bundesliga action on Monday, while Rangers have a huge Old Firm derby at Celtic in the battle for the Scottish Premiership title on Sunday.

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