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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Rangers 0-0 Artmedia Bratislava
Dado Prso spurned an early chance for Rangers
Rangers squandered a number of good chances as they failed to break down a stubborn Artmedia Bratislava at Ibrox in the Champions League.

Dado Prso, Federico Nieto, Hamed Namouchi and Sotoris Kyrgiakos were denied by goalkeeper Juraj Cobej in the first-half as Rangers dominated.

Rangers lost their attacking rhythm after the interval, while Cobej was again equal to anything thrown at him.

With Porto beating Inter, Group H is tighter than Rangers would have liked.

Artmedia did not look like the side that had dismantled Celtic 5-0 in qualifying for the competition, but neither did they resemble the team that collapsed to a 4-0 loss in that tie's return leg.

However, Rangers, who lost Nieto and Kyrgiakos to injury, will be disappointed not to have capitalised on their early pressure.

Rangers made a high tempo start with Peter Lovenkrands driving down the left flank with purpose.

The Slovakian visitors were carved open after 11 minutes when Lovenkrands sent Dado Prso racing into the penalty box.

Prso only had Cobej to beat but the Artmedia goalkeeper raced off his line to spread himself and block as the striker slipped.

Prso then turned provider to set up Nieto but Cobej got down well to stop the Argentine's unconvincing low shot.

A fortunate ricochet then saw the ball fall to Hamed Namouchi just six yards from goal but Cobej was again quick to advance and managed to beat away the youngster's volley.

Hamed Namouchi shoots straight at the goalkeeper
Namouchi missed a great chance in the first-half

Artmedia produced a rare attack when Lukas Hartig ran free from the half-way line but he skewed his shot hopelessly wide once he reached the penalty area.

And the SPL champions went close again when Kyrgiakos saw his downward header pushed away by the theatrical Cobej.

Barry Ferguson and Brahim Hemdani both tried their luck from distance as Rangers continued to pour forward but Cobej gathered comfortably.

Substitute Steven Thompson was given a glimpse of goal early in the second half but was beaten to Prso's low cross by a sliding near-post challenge from Ondrej Debnar.

Olivier Bernard then powered in a shot from 25 yards that Cobej turned away impressively.

Ibrox keeper Ronald Wattereus had been a spectator for most of the evening but had to look smart to block an effort from Hartig after 57 minutes.

Cobej did well to push away a net-bound cross from Ferguson after Thompson failed to connect with the ball in the six-yard box.

But Rangers lost their way, with Artmedia enjoying more possession and Lovenkrands falling out of the game.

Prso flashed a shot wide in the 89th minute although Rangers had run out of steam and ideas long before then.


Rangers: Waterreus, Ricksen, Rodriguez, Kyrgiakos (Andrews 58), Bernard, Namouchi (Burke 75), Ferguson, Hemdani, Lovenkrands, Nieto (Thompson 37), Prso.
Subs Not Used: Klos, Pierre-Fanfan, Murray, McCormack.

Booked: Bernard, Prso, Burke.

Artmedia Bratislava: Cobej, Petras, Debnar, Durica, Urbanek, Vascak (Obzera 68), Kozak, Borbely, Fodrek, Halenar (Tchur 73), Hartig (Stano 83).
Subs Not Used: Kamenar, Mikulic, Konecny, Burak.

Booked: Obzera, Borbely.

Att: 49,018

Ref: Arturo Dauden Ibanez (Spain).


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News conference: Rangers boss Alex McLeish




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