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Rangers: James Sands was the star of the show on Wednesday

Glasgow Rangers secured their place in the group stages of the Champions League with a 1-0 win away from Ibrox on Wednesday night.

The Gers came into the match after drawing 2-2 in the first leg at home against PSV. Antonio Colak and Tom Lawrence scored the goals that night to tee up this clash.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men travelled to the Netherlands and battled hard to earn a 1-0 win against the Eredivise outfit, putting themselves through to the Champions League proper for the first time in 12 years.

Colak scored the only goal of the match as he was perfectly placed to finish after terrific work from Malik Tillman to win the ball back inside the box and tee him up for the shot.

Whilst the Croatian, who has now scored five goals in his first eight games for Rangers, was the match-winner on the pitch, it was a defender who was the real star of the show for the Light Blues – James Sands.

Was Sands man of the match?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The versatile USA international has been forced into regular minutes at centre-back this season due to injuries to Ben Davies and John Souttar and was sublime against PSV.

Journalist Jacob Schneider dubbed his performance as “phenomenal” and claimed that he was “influential” at the back, whilst fellow reporter Kyle Bonn described him as a “rock“.

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Gio van Bronckhorst coaching on the touchline for Rangers

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The 6ft 1 centre-back, who was once called a “monster” by New York City FC writer Oliver Strand, was composed on the ball for the majority of the match – completing 86% of his attempted passes.

His ability, naturally as a midfielder, to play the ball out from the back with ease allowed Rangers to break the press at times and it meant that he was not slowing any moves down by struggling in possession.

Off the ball, he was a machine as he racked up six clearances, one block, two interceptions and one tackle, whilst the two PSV centre-backs managed nine of those actions between them.

Along with that, he won two of his three ground duels and this shows that he was strong on the deck and did not allow himself to be bullied, whilst his 70 touches – the second-most of any Gers starter – further highlighted his influence in playing out from the back, as per SofaScore.

The Scotsman’s Mark Atkinson dubbed him the best outfielder on the pitch and we agree. He was key for Rangers defensively and on the ball and will now be hoping to cement his place in the team for the rest of the campaign.

Article title: Rangers: James Sands was the star of the show on Wednesday

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