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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Rangers 2-0 Anorthosis Famagusta
Thomas Buffel (left) opened the scoring for Rangers
Rangers win 4-1 on aggregate

Goals from Thomas Buffel and Dado Prso eased Rangers into the group stages of the Champions League after a 4-1 aggregate win over Anorthosis.

But Famagusta player-coach Temuri Ketsbaia gave the Glasgow side an early fright by striking the post and forcing two good saves from Ronald Waterreus.

Buffel chipped over goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides for Rangers' opener.

And Prso curled in the second after the break, after which Nacho Novo came close to extending the lead.

Peter Lovenkrands and Fernando Ricksen had replaced Alex Rae and Marvin Andrews in Rangers' starting line-up following Saturday's defeat of Celtic.

Anorthosis midfielder Marco Haber returned from suspension, while captain Nicos Nicolaou recovered from injury.

But their preparations had been hit by former Manchester City playmaker Georgi Kinkladze's decision not to take part as he intends moving to Russia.

Yet the visitors from Cyprus were by far the more dangerous outfit in the opening stages.

Ketsbaia, booed constantly by Rangers fans for pre-match comments, was the inspiration and struck the inside of the post with a superb 30-yard effort.

The former Newcastle and Dundee midfielder next burst into the box and forced goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus to block clear.

Ketsbaia gathered the loose ball and Julien Rodriguez cleared in front of his own goal after the head of Nikos Frousos connected with the cross.

It was 28 minutes before Rangers seriously threatened, Prso bursting along the edge of the box before firing a drive a few yards wide.

The Croatian then somehow managed to head wide from four yards following a Barry Ferguson free-kick before Rangers made the breakthrough after 39 minutes.

Buffel gathered a flick-on from Novo before powering into the box and clipping the ball over the advancing Georgallides.

Ketsbaia's early threat had been somewhat nullified by fatigue and now being man-marked by Ian Murray.

But the veteran forced another fine parry from Waterreus, with Rodriguez just managing to clear from in front of goal despite pressure from Frousos.

Novo came close to extending the lead when he rounded the goalkeeper and rolled the ball across the face of goal.

The Spaniard was first to threaten after the break but side-footed the ball over the bar from six yards following a Ricksen cross.

Rangers sealed the tie when Prso turned his marker inside out before curling the ball into the corner of the net from the edge of the box after 57 minutes.

Haber forced Waterreus into a save at full stretch with a long-range effort, but Rangers were now dominant and Novo and Steven Thompson squandered chances to extend the lead.

Rangers: Waterreus, Ricksen, Pierre-Fanfan, Rodriguez, Ball, Ferguson, Murray (Alex Rae 85), Lovenkrands, Buffel (McCormack 74), Novo, Prso (Thompson 66).
Subs Not Used: Klos, Andrews, Malcolm, Khizanishvili.

Booked: Pierre-Fanfan, McCormack.

Goals: Buffel 39, Prso 58.

Anorthosis Famagusta: Georgallides, Poursaitides, Katsabakis, Louka, Xenidis, Haber, Maragos (Konstantinou 52), Nikolaou, Ketsbaia (Samaras 64), Tsitaishvili (Tsolakides 72), Frousos.
Subs Not Used: Nagy, Kampantais, Markou, Parmakis.

Booked: Poursaitides.

Att: 48,500

Ref: Valentin Ivanov (Russia)

Interview: Rangers boss Alex McLeish


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