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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 20:36 GMT 21:36 UK
Rangers 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
By Colin Moffat

Charlie Adam scored a wonderful goal at Ibrox
Charlie Adam scored a wonderful goal at Ibrox
Rangers opened their Champions League campaign with a valuable three points after a spirited fightback at Ibrox.

Mario Gomez fired the visitors ahead early in the second half, deflecting a fizzing cross home from close range.

But Charlie Adam curled in a delicious equaliser soon after, following a fantastic run from Alan Hutton.

Jean Claude Darcheville smashed in a 74th minute penalty to seal the victory after Hutton's strong run ended with the defender being fouled.

After a shaky start, Rangers were unlucky to fall behind but came roaring back in fine style to clinch a deserved win.

Rangers skipper Barry Ferguson passed a late fitness test, while Brahim Hemdani and Adam were recalled to bolster a five-man midfield.

Despite a defensive set-up from the home side, they were under pressure in the early stages, with Stuttgart moving the ball around with confidence.

There was a scare when Carlos Cuellar intercepted a dangerous low cross and the Ibrox centre-half's clearance clipped the outside of Allan McGregor's post.

Jeronimo Baretto Cacau fizzed a dipping shot over the top and McGregor saved a weak close range effort from Ricardo Osorio before an angled drive from Gomez flashed narrowly wide.

A slack back-pass gave Kevin Thomson a chance but visiting keeper Raphael Schafer recovered from a slip to slide in bravely and deny the Rangers midfielder.

Schafer was busy again when he had to parry an ambitious shot from out wide by the hard working Darcheville.

Adam tried his luck with a half-volley from 35 yards, which dipped just over the crossbar.

His quick free-kick then set up Ferguson for a header in front of goal only for the captain to glance wide, with the German defence caught napping.

Darcheville brushed off two challenges to charge into the penalty area but Schafer was off his line swiftly to block the lone striker's stabbed shot.

Following that period of Rangers pressure, Stuttgart managed to dampen the threat of Walter Smith's side with some prolonged spells of possession.

Before the break, the lively Cacau managed to steer in an acrobatic overhead kick from 18 yards but it went straight at McGregor.

With Ferguson off the field after a clash of heads, Rangers fell behind on 55 minutes.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Sami Khedira's low delivery skidded into the penalty area and Gomez stuck out a leg to divert the ball beyond McGregor.

Hutton immediately charged forward and tried his luck with a long range strike that was not too far away.

The full-back was the driving force behind the equaliser, with another great surge to the edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball to Adam, who cut inside a defender and curled a sweet strike into the far corner of the net.

McGregor then used an outstretched leg to keep out a Cacau shot after some sloppy defending from Cuellar.

Steven Whittaker slashed a shot wide after a neat lay-off from Darcheville had opened up the goal.

But Rangers were not to be denied and the impressive Hutton won a penalty when he was crudely upended by Fernando Meira.

Darcheville slammed the spot-kick home to send the Ibrox crowd wild with delight.

Ferguson went close to stretching Rangers' advantage with a fierce shot in the 88th minute but Schafer got his fingertips to the ball.


Rangers: McGregor, Hutton, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Hemdani, Whittaker (Faye 86), Ferguson, Adam (Beasley 67), Thomson, Darcheville (Novo 83). Subs Not Used: Carroll, Boyd, Broadfoot, Cousin.

Booked: Hutton, Thomson, Faye.

Goals: Adam 62, Darcheville 75 pen.

VfB Stuttgart: Schafer, Osorio, Tasci, Fernando Meira, Boka, Pardo, Hilbert, Khedira (Basturk 77), Da Silva (Ewerthon 70), Cacau, Gomez. Subs Not Used: Langer, Beck, Farnerud, Marica, Pischorn.

Booked: Fernando Meira, Pardo.

Goal: Gomez 56.

Att: 49,795

Ref: Stefano Farina (Italy).



SEE ALSO
Champions League photos
19 Sep 07 |  Europe
Champions League as it happened
19 Sep 07 |  Europe


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