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Rangers struck twice late on to bring home a 4-3 victory from the first leg and those away goals put them in a commanding position ahead of the return fixture, while there could easily have been more goals in that first encounter.
Few would expect this clash to be quite as pulsating, with Steven Gerrard likely to emphasise the need for a more organized approach to his squad to get the job done.
The Gers won’t lack for confidence though and their week got even better as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over Dundee Utd on Sunday, while they were able to put their feet up and watch Celtic drop more points later that evening as they went down 1-0 to lowly Ross County.
To make life more difficult for Antwerp, the Scottish outfit have now lost just once in 41 matches (W34-D6-L1) as they’ve registered an astonishing 27 clean sheets.
That record is even more stunning at Ibrox, where the hosts have won 18 of 19 unbeaten fixtures, as only Portuguese giants Benfica were able to secure a point.
That virtually impregnable defence saw Rangers win to nil in 14 of those home encounters, though they’ve only registered a single clean sheet in seven European matches here since December 2019.
Rangers To Win And Over 2.5 Goals
After the first leg, it’s understandable that both teams to score is odds-on, despite the Gers’ defensive record at Ibrox.
In fact, there’s been at least three goals in five of Rangers’ six home European matches since 2020, with a minimum four strikes on four occasions.
Moreover, home or away, five of their last six in Europe have seen both teams register at least twice on the board, including a 3-2 win over another Belgian outfit in the shape of Standard Liege.
That encourages us to get behind goals here and especially as Antwerp can’t afford to sit back. They’re going to have to score at least twice at a minimum to stand a chance of progression, so this should be another fairly open affair.
Gerrard has a couple of absentees as both James Tavernier and Kemar Roofe are sidelined, though that shouldn’t prevent them from emulating last season’s success in the first knockout round where they dispatched Sporting Braga with victories in both legs.
That’s especially the case when considering their phenomenal home record, while Antwerp have some problems of their own.
Franky Vercauteren does have veteran striker Dieumerci Mbokani back from injury, but he has a goalkeeping crisis with third-choice Ortwin De Wolf set to feature, with both Jean Butez and Alireza Beiranvand sidelined.
Meanwhile, defender Abdoulaye Seck is suspended following his sending off in the first leg and so they look weaker at the back.
Antwerp have now gone four games without a win, drawing league encounters with Standard Liege and Sint-Truiden, while losing to Club Brugge in domestic cup action, and Rangers can make them pay here.