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Rangers: Alfredo Morelos was “off the pace” again vs Napoli

Glasgow Rangers continued their miserable return to life in the Champions League having slipped to a fifth successive group stage defeat on Wednesday, suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of a rampant Napoli side away in Italy.

Up against a side who had enjoyed an 11-game winning run heading into that clash, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men were simply unable to live with their imperious hosts as the Serie A side surged to a two-goal lead inside the opening 16 minutes, courtesy of a clinical Giovanni Simeone double.

Staring down the barrel of another European mauling – having only recently shipped seven away to Liverpool at Anfield – the Gers managed to avoid further embarrassment to keep the scoreline respectable, with a late Leo Ostigard header the only further goal for the home side.

While the Ibrox outfit can take heart from their second half showing up against a team who appear almost impossible to live with at present, there will likely be concern at the continued woes of a number of the Gers’ stars, with Alfredo Morelos, in particular, once again failing to deliver.

The Colombian international has so often been a deadly presence for the Old Firm giants over the years – with 114 goals in 238 games for the club to date – although is currently enjoying a miserable run at present, with just two goals to his name this season.

Having made his return from the injury which curtailed his 2021/22 campaign, the 26-year-old has since been unable to recapture his previously lethal form, with doubts still lingering over his long-term future at the club as his current deal ebbs towards its expiry.

So often the man to produce the goods on the European stage during his time with the Glasgow side – with 15 goals in 33 Europa League games – the 11-cap dud now looks a shadow over his former self, with journalist Graham Spiers describing him as a “pub amateur” following yesterday’s limp showing.

The centre-forward brute looked distinctly “off the pace” against Luciano Spalletti’s side, according to club legend Ally McCoist, having notably spurned a guilt-edged chance just before the break after producing a tame attempt at goal on the counter.

The £11.7m-rated man did then go close on the hour mark with an acrobatic volley, although then inexplicably failed to convert Ridvan Yilmaz’s delightful pull-back just moments later, with that blunder seemingly epitomising the marksman’s struggles at present.

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Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard reacts after the match

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That grim night saw the polarising forward record just 28 touches from his 68-minute outing – fewer than teammate Allan McGregor (32) – having also been somewhat wasteful with his limited involvement after losing possession nine times on the day, while making just 13 passes.

On the evidence of that display, it is no surprise that Van Bronckhorst’s side having only scored once in the competition thus far, while that man Morelos is beginning to tarnish his previous cult hero status.