Rangers vs Napoli will square off against one another at Ibrox on Wednesday. The two teams had quite different outcomes on the first night of the Champions League Group A competition.
In a match that was postponed for a day, the home team will try to get back on track after suffering a humiliating loss to Ajax the previous week. On the other side of the field, the Italians will be looking to recreate the magic of their thrilling victory against Liverpool.
Match Preview: Rangers vs Napoli
Rangers had a forgettable week at home and abroad. After losing the Glasgow derby and their Champions League debut against Celtic, they want to regroup. Three days after losing 4-0 in Scotland, the Gers lost 3-0 in Amsterdam.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team lost 4-0 against Ajax for the seventh time in eight meetings. Rangers were spared Saturday’s early Premiership opener so they could practice. Celtic leads by five points after conceding as many goals in two games as in 10.
Last season’s Europa League runners-up qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time in 12 years. Napoli may not be the Rangers’ first pick during a dip. They lead Group A by three points and are in strong domestic form.
Europe took notice of the Azzurri’s explosive performance at Stadio Maradona on the first night, when they led Liverpool 3-0 at halftime. Piotr Zielinski, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguisa, and Giovanni Simeone scored after Victor Osimhen’s miss. He scored after three minutes as a substitute.
After a quick start, Luciano Spalletti’s team drew twice in Serie A, but a comeback triumph over Lazio seemed to have launched a winning run. Giacomo Raspadori’s late strike put Napoli atop Serie A after six games, ahead of Milan and Atalanta on goal differential.
Raspadori, Kim Min-Jae, and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (‘Kvaradona’ to the locals) helped Campania forget last season’s disastrous result.
Team News: Rangers vs Napoli
Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin of the Rangers is anticipated to start on Wednesday despite recent doubts about his status due to competition from 40-year-old reserve Allan McGregor, who played for the team in their previous Champions League campaign in 2010.
With Ben Davies, John Souttar, and Filip Helander already out for the month, Tom Lawrence may be out till the end of the month after suffering a knee injury before the Old Firm match and the Gers’ following trip to Amsterdam.
Kemar Roofe and Ianis Hagi, two of the team’s forwards, are still sidelined as well, albeit they were not included in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s group stage roster to begin with. Alfredo Morelos, a controversial striker from Colombia, hopes to oust Antonio Colak, who has scored seven goals since joining from Malmo.
Meanwhile, Napoli may need to alter its starting XI from the game against Liverpool, as Nigerian international Victor Osimhen may be out until October with a thigh problem.
So, Giacomo Raspadori or Giovanni Simeone will start up top for the visitors against the Rangers on Saturday, and maybe also against Milan on the weekend.
Kim Min-Jae and Piotr Zielinski, who was given the weekend off, should return to the starting XI, while Matteo Politano will keep his right-wing spot in the absence of Hirving Lozano.
- Potential Rangers Starting XI: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Sands, Barisic, Lundstram, Davis, Tillman, Kamara, Kent, Morelos.
- Possibile Napoli Starting XI: Meret, Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Olivera, Anguissa, Lobotka, Politano, Zielinski, Kvaratskhelia, Simeone.
Our Prediction: Rangers 1-1 Napoli
Due to the fact that Rangers have never moved beyond the group stage in any of their 10 prior competitions, the challenge that they face is very evident in the wake of the thrashing they received at the hands of Ajax the week before.
They will, however, have gained valuable insight from such a defeat, and in front of a noisy home crowd, they should be able to give the in-form Napoli team a run for their money and get their first point in Group A.
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