Rangers’ Champions League hopes have been thrown into disarray after the Scottish champions were beaten 1-0 in qualifying by Malmo FF.The first leg of their qualifying tie at Ibrox on Tuesday was meant to be smooth sailing for Ally McCoist’s men, but an 18th-minute strike from Daniel Larsson was enough to hand the Swedes an unlikely triumph.
The loss continues Rangers’ uneasy start to their overall campaign, after they were forced to come from behind in their Scottish Premier League opener against Hearts to force a draw.
The result means the SPL title holders must score at least once in the second leg next Wednesday at Malmo’s Swedbank Stadion, to avoid an embarrassing pre-group stage exit from Europe’s elite football competition.
Last season’s Europa League quarter-finalists Dynamo Kiev were beaten 2-0 by Russian side Rubin Kazan in Ukraine.
A sixth-minute opener to Alan Kasaev gave the visitors the ascendancy, before Bibras Natkho’s penalty midway through the second half sealed a commanding victory for the Russian club.
Racing Genk pulled off a stunning come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Partizan Belgrade at their Cristal Arena home.
The Belgians were in strife when South African defender Anele Ngongca was shown a red card just past the half-hour mark.
But before the first goal, the sides were both down to 10 when Partizan’s Stefan Babovic was shown his marching orders also in the 48th minute.
Despite their setback, Partizan led on 65 minutes through a Nemanja Tomic goal, which seemingly sparked the hosts into action.
An equaliser within five minutes from the penalty spot, converted by Jelle Vossen, gave the Belgians hope of a result, before Marvin Ogunjimi struck the winner deep into injury time to give Genk the lead heading into a second leg in Serbia.
In other results, Poland’s Wisla Krakow beat Lovech 2-1 in Bulgaria, BATE Borisov, a Belarusian club, held Ekranas to a scoreless draw in Lithuania, Georgian side Zestafoni earned a 1-1 draw at home to Sturm Graz, APOEL’s battle with Slovan Bratislava ended 0-0 while a Marc Janko brace gave FC Twente a 2-0 triumph over Romanian side Vaslui.