Gers suffer Unirea thrashing

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Rangers suffered a night of humiliation as they crashed to a 4-1 defeat to Unirea Urziceni in the Champions League clash at Ibrox - just weeks after enduring a similar reverse at the hands of Sevilla.

The drama unfolded amid a catalogue of errors, with the Scottish champions enjoying the best possible start when a Pedro Mendes shot was deflected into the back of his own net by Ricardo Vilana with less than two minutes gone.

The visitors then levelled through Marius Ioan Bilasco before Steven Davis squandered the opportunity to reclaim the lead when his penalty was saved shortly before the break, but there was worse to come for Walter Smith's men in the second half with own-goals from Kyle Lafferty and Lee McCulloch handing Unirea the advantage, before Pablo Brandan completed the rout.

Although Ibrox was short of capacity, the atmosphere was cranked up after Mendes collected a Jerome Rothen corner at the edge of the box and drove towards goal, happy to see the ball take a significant deflection off Vilana before looping over Tudor.

There was the occasional flurry in the visiting box but in the 32nd minute Unirea deservedly drew level with a fine goal by striker Bilasco. Midfielder Iulian Apostol split the Ibrox defence to send Brandan into the box and his cut-back from the left was easily slid in to the empty net by Bilasco.

Five minutes later Rangers had the chance to retain their lead when Fernandes was adjudged by referee Eric Braamhaar to have handled a David Weir header, following a looping Rothen free-kick into a packed penalty area.

Davis struck the penalty to Tudor's right and watched in dismay as the goalkeeper dived to push the ball behind for a corner.

Lafferty replaced Mendes at the break but the Irishman's first real involvement was five minutes later when he helped the visitors take the lead.

When Apostol's low cross was delivered into the box, Fernandes flicked the ball on and it took the slightest of touches off the luckless Northern Ireland international before it sped past McGregor and in off the post.

The boos rang out around Ibrox in the 59th minute when McCulloch headed a Brandan free-kick past McGregor to make it 3-1, and many Rangers supporters simply upped and left in disgust when Brandan fired in a 30-yard drive after taking a short free-kick from Apostol.

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Steven Davis
Kyle Lafferty
Pedro Mendes
UEFA Champions League
Steven Davis

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