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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 19:56 GMT
Rangers ease past Well
Winger Peter Lovenkrands scores Rangers second goal
Lovenkrands doubled Rangers lead
Rangers 2-0 Motherwell

Rangers moved six points clear of Celtic at the top of the SPL table after a comfortable victory over Motherwell at Ibrox.

Barry Ferguson's 17th goal of the season gave the home side a deserved half-time lead.

And Peter Lovenkrands secured all three points at the start of the second-half with a well-taken goal.

Rangers should have won by more goals but contrived to miss a series of good opportunities after the break.

Struggling Motherwell remain at the foot of the table, one place behind Dundee United having collected only 24 points from 30 games.

But the visitors started brightly and in the seventh minute Gers keeper Stefan Klos prevented Well striker Dirk Lehmann from opening the scoring with a superb block after James McFadden had opened up the Ibrox defence with a sublime 40-yard pass.

I'm quite pleased we have got through this one tonight after a very difficult game on Sunday
Rangers boss Alex McLeish
Rangers' replied when Steven Thompson played Fernando Ricksen into a good position inside the box, but the ball was claimed by Francois Dubourdeau after it came off Steven Hammell.

Rangers forced two corners in quick succession and when Dubourdeau punched away the second, Lovenkrands headed it back into the danger zone but Tony Vaughan stepped in to clear.

Well were back under the cosh when David Partridge fouled Michael Mols on the edge of the box.

And it was to prove costly as Ferguson curled a fine free kick past both wall and goalkeeper to open the scoring.

Well hit back and a deflected Hammell shot forced Klos to gather smartly at his near post.

Then Keith Lasley won a corner on the half hour mark and Lehmann peeled away at the near post only to head across goal and narrowly wide.

At the other end, a Ferguson free-kick was deflected onto Bob Malcolm's head in the six-yard box but his weak effort was gathered easily by the Well keeper.

Rangers striker Steven Thompson
Rangers were often too elaborate in front of goal
And Ferguson nearly doubled Rangers lead when he fired inches wide after Dubourdeau's under-hit kick upfield had been intercepted by Ronald de Boer.

Just before the break poor defending allowed Lovenkrands a free header at the back post but his attempt to head across goal to the unmarked De Boer was intercepted by the goalkeeper.

But Lovenkrands made amends within 50 seconds of the restart after Kevin Muscat went on a storming run down the left and produced a perfectly weighted through-ball which the Dane stroked into the net from six yards.

Rangers sensed the game was won and could have buried Motherwell but they were often guilty of overelaborating in front of goal.

Another great chance fell their way on the hour mark but Thompson miskicked in front of goal after Maurice Ross had sent in a low cross from the right.

Then Neil McCann supplied a cross for Shota Arveladze to head goalwards and it needed a smart block by the goalkeeper to deny him.

Arveladze then flicked the ball away from Martyn Corrigan before seeing Dubourdeau save once more and from Rangers' next attack Muscat curled a long-ranger on to the roof of the net.

Rangers: Klos, Muscat, Malcolm, Moore, Ross, Ricksen, Ferguson, de Boer (Konterman 58), Lovenkrands (McCann 66), Thompson, Mols (Arveladze 60).

Subs Not Used: McGregor, Hughes.

Booked: Lovenkrands, Muscat.

Motherwell: Dubourdeau, Corrigan, Vaughan, Partridge, Hammell, Ramsey (Cowan 29), Adams, Lasley, Lehmann (Craig 75), Clarkson (Offiong 65), McFadden.

Subs Not Used: Woods, Fagan.

Booked: Vaughan, Cowan, Craig.

Attendance: 49,240.

Referee: H Dallas



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