Rangers 2-1 Sparta Prague: Ibrox side edge out Czechs to bolster Europa League hosts

Todd Cantwell’s goal proved to be the winner for Rangers

Rangers strengthened their hopes of progressing to the Europa League knockout stages as they survived a nervy finish to beat Sparta Prague at Ibrox.

First-half strikes from Danilo at Todd Cantwell gave the hosts a deserved 2-0 lead at half-time, before Lukas Haraslin’s goal after the break halved the deficit.

Rangers missed several chances to kill the game off, but held on for a crucial three points despite a late rally by the Czech side.

Philippe Clement’s side now sit second in Group C, two points behind Real Betis and three clear of Sparta.

Rangers started the game on the front foot and should have led inside six minutes, but Cantwell’s cross-shot evaded Danilo with Sparta’s defence breached.

However, Clement’s side kept their foot to the floor and didn’t have to wait much longer to hit the front. A horrible error from James Gomez put Danilo clean through on Peter Vindahl’s goal, and the Brazilian slid a calm finish into the corner.

With Ibrox at its raucous best, Rangers poured forward again and again, and doubled their lead in clinical fashion. Danilo fed Cantwell, who cut inside before rolling a clinical finish past Vindahl’s despairing dive.

Sparta were powerless to resist the hosts, and it was only the frame of the goal that denied Danilo his second of the night before the break.

There was a drop-off in the second half, despite an impressive performance from young substitute Ross McCausland, and Sparta got themselves on the scoreboard when Haraslin finished off a slick team move.

Rangers wasted several chances on the break, and were forced to endure a nervy finish to the game as an increasingly confident Sparta pushed for an equaliser that ultimately wouldn’t come.

Player of the match – Danilo

Danilo celebrates scoring
A goal and an assist. Rangers’ big-money summer signing was a constant threat up top and could have scored more on another day.

Clement’s Rangers continue to impress – analysis

Clement has spoken at length about wanting his players to play with freedom, and not be afraid to make mistakes, and the Belgian has clearly restored the confidence that was distinctly lacking under Michael Beale.

Nothing illustrated that more than an audacious bicycle-kick effort from Cantwell in the first half that forced Vindahl into a smart save.

There was pace, purpose, and a cutting edge to Rangers in forward areas during that first half – a throwback to the European nights that have lit up Ibrox in years gone by, and a stark contrast to the pedestrian play that characterised their slow start to the season.

The second 45 was far from perfect, but there is something to be said for coming through periods of pressure as they did, and Jack Butland once again produced big saves when called upon.

It’s now five wins and one draw from Clement’s six games in charge, and if Rangers’ upward trajectory continues, a season that promised precious little could yet be a real success.

As it stands table

Match stats

  • Rangers have won their first two home matches in a major European campaign for the first time since the 2019-20 season, when they were also competing in the Europa League.
  • Sparta have lost all three of their away major European matches against Rangers, losing 2-1 in 1991 (European Cup), 2-0 in 2021 (Europa League) and 2-1 here.
  • Rangers went two goals up in the opening 20 minutes of a match for only the second time in their past 118 major European matches – the other time was against Red Star Belgrade in March 2022 (2-0 after 15 minutes).
  • Danilo scored his fourth Europa League goal (one for Ajax, two for Feyenoord and one for Rangers), with all four coming in home matches.
  • Sparta have now conceded at least two goals in nine of their past 11 away matches in major European competition, including each of their past five.
  • Danilo became only the third South American to score a goal for Rangers in major European competition, after Emerson and Alfredo Morelos.

What’s next?

Rangers go to Livingston in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday (12:00 GMT), with their next European engagement a home game with Aris on 30 November (20:00).



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Butland
  • 2TavernierBooked at 89mins
  • 6GoldsonBooked at 90mins
  • 26Davies
  • 31BarisicBooked at 58mins
  • 4Lundstram
  • 8Jack
  • 13CantwellSubstituted forMcCauslandat 69′minutes
  • 14LammersBooked at 90minsSubstituted forCifuentesat 90+6′minutes
  • 19SimaSubstituted forLawrenceat 85′minutes
  • 99Pereira da SilvaSubstituted forDessersat 85′minutes


  • 9Dessers
  • 11Lawrence
  • 15Cifuentes
  • 21Sterling
  • 25Roofe
  • 28McCrorie
  • 32Wright
  • 38King
  • 44Devine
  • 45McCausland

Sparta Prague

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Vindahl
  • 41VitíkBooked at 45mins
  • 25Sørensen
  • 5GomezBooked at 37minsSubstituted forWiesnerat 45′minutes
  • 2PreciadoBooked at 90mins
  • 18SadílekSubstituted forHaraslínat 59′minutes
  • 6Kairinen
  • 30Zeleny
  • 9KuchtaSubstituted forSejkat 67′minutes
  • 14Birmancevic
  • 7OlatunjiSubstituted forLaçiat 45′minutesBooked at 79minsSubstituted forVydraat 85′minutes


  • 8Pavelka
  • 10Karabec
  • 19Mejdr
  • 20Laçi
  • 22Haraslín
  • 24Vorel
  • 26Vydra
  • 28Wiesner
  • 29Sevcík
  • 39Sejk
  • 44Surovcík

Live Text

Player of the match



  1. Squad number99Player nameDanilo

  2. Squad number13Player nameCantwell

  3. Squad number1Player nameButland

  4. Squad number45Player nameMcCausland

  5. Squad number8Player nameJack

  6. Squad number19Player nameSima

  7. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  8. Squad number26Player nameDavies

  9. Squad number2Player nameTavernier

  10. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  11. Squad number4Player nameLundstram

  12. Squad number14Player nameLammers

  13. Squad number11Player nameLawrence

  14. Squad number9Player nameDessers

  15. Squad number15Player nameCifuentes

Sparta Prague

  1. Squad number22Player nameHaraslín

  2. Squad number1Player nameVindahl

  3. Squad number20Player nameLaçi

  4. Squad number26Player nameVydra

  5. Squad number39Player nameSejk

  6. Squad number28Player nameWiesner

  7. Squad number18Player nameSadílek

  8. Squad number25Player nameSørensen

  9. Squad number2Player namePreciado

  10. Squad number30Player nameZeleny

  11. Squad number6Player nameKairinen

  12. Squad number7Player nameOlatunji

  13. Squad number14Player nameBirmancevic

  14. Squad number9Player nameKuchta

  15. Squad number41Player nameVitík

  16. Squad number5Player nameGomez

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