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David Begg
reports from Lithuania.
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Rangers progress after dull draw
Giovanni van Bronckhorst came close to scoring for Rangers
Giovanni van Bronckhorst came close to scoring for Rangers
Zalgiris Kaunas 0-0 Rangers (agg. 1-4)

Rangers took a step closer to the Champions League at virtually walking pace tonight as Zalgiris Kaunas were never able to knock them off their stride.

An unremarkable scoreless draw never threatened to come alive as the home side struggled to exert any pressure in this second qualifying round second leg tie.

The real work for Rangers was done a week ago at Ibrox in a 4-1 victory which meant this game resembled little more than a training exercise for long periods.

What might worry Dick Advocaat is that Rangers, despite dominating proceedings in terms of possession, were unable to put away any of the chances created - and that failing could well be punished within the next week.

Vital

Danish champions Herfolge now await Rangers for a place in the first group phase of a competition in which success is vital to Rangers' season.

Advocaat was quick to warn his players that they must be on better form for the trip next Tuesday: "I think the players realise that we cannot repeat what we showed today in Kaunas against the Danes because then we have no chance against them.

"The team went out to do a job and get to the next stage, and we have done that but we still have a long way to go.


The team went out to do a job and get to the next stage, and we have done that but we still have a long way to go
  Dick Advocaat
"We all know what the expectations are of this club. We were expected to come here and win four or five nil on the night but we are not at that level yet.

"We still have to work on our sharpness because at 2-1 a week ago before two goals in injury time in the first leg it was looking hard to come here.

"I am pleased result-wise and the lead we have going into the game meant I was quite relaxed - but I am not at all relaxed about the performance. It is good to win but as a manager you want to be the better side as well."

Disallowed

Rangers did have the ball in the net with five minutes remaining when a Bert Konterman header was disallowed for a foul and could easily have lost the game but for Giovanni van Bronckhorst heading a late effort off the line.

In last season's Champion League, Rangers beat the likes of Parma and PSV Eindhoven but showed little of that form and will need to improve rapidly in time for the Herfolge tie.

In a side with five changes from the first leg, Billy Dodds started well and was quickly involved setting up Rod Wallace after five minutes who just failed to clip the ball beyond advancing keeper Gytis Padimanskas.

Opportunity

Rangers missed a dream opportunity to move ahead in the ninth minute when Fernando Ricksen found himself clean through only to strike the bar and from the rebound Wallace conspired to head over an open goal.

The visitors were playing a relaxed passing game at a tempo which suited them and aside from a banner reading "we support Celtic", there was no hostility for Rangers to counter on or off the field in a sparsely populated ground.

Billy Dodds: scored two vital goals in the first leg
Billy Dodds: scored two vital goals in the first leg
It was the half-hour mark before the Lithuanians threatened, Audirus Zuta - who scored Kaunas' away goal a week ago - got free of both Tugay and Lorenzo Amoruso, but shot straight at Klos.

At the other end, Amoruso headed over a van Bronckhorst corner as Rangers pressed forward for a goal to effectively end the contest.

Neat interplay

They almost managed it moments later when van Bronckhorst was put through following neat interplay by Dodds and Wallace only for keeper Padimanskas to deny him.

Rangers survived a scare two minutes before half-time where Ignas Dedura was allowed a free header inside the area following a corner from the right only to direct his effort wide.

Rangers made a change at half-time, bringing off Tony Vidmar and introducing Sergio Porrini but it made little difference as Rangers invited pressure from a Kuanas side incapable of threatening.

Angled shot

After 47 minutes, Wallace drove an angled shot narrowly wide of the mark when in a position to do better while on the hour mark the Lithuanians had a rare sight of goal but Arunas Mika failed to trouble goalkeeper Stefan Klos.

On 65 minutes, Rangers came close again through Claudio Reyna's free-kick but increasingly it seemed that both teams had settled for the draw.

Rangers also added former Sunderland star Allan Johnston into the fray in a bid to add more bite to their attack, though it was Kaunas who threatened again on 75 minutes when Mika screwed his effort badly wide.

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