Sevilla blitz groggy Gers
Sevilla dumped Rangers with a stunning second-half goal blitz as they made it two wins out of two in their UEFA Champions League campaign following a 4-1 success at Ibrox.
The Spanish side ran out easy winners thanks to goals from Abdoulay Konko, Adriano, Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute but that doesn't tell the full story of a fiery encounter, which saw Nacho Novo score a late consolation for the home side.
Konko may have opened the scoring on 50 minutes to set them on their way but he was lucky to still be on the pitch after he avoided giving away a penalty and receiving a red card after what looked like a last-man trip on Steven Naismith in the box. Referee Jonas Eriksson turned away the home side's appeals and the visitors never looked back after surviving that first-half scare. They are now in pole position to reach the last 16, with Rangers likely to be scrapping for second place with Stuttgart and Unirea Urziceni.
Home boss Walter Smith sprang something of a surprise before kick-off with his starting line-up. The 4-5-1 formation, his preferred in European competition, was expected but the inclusion of Steven Naismith as the lone striker, at the expense of Kenny Miller, raised a few eyebrows amongst the home support.
Manola Jimenez's side arrived in Glasgow in sparkling form having won four of their opening five matches in La Liga, including a thumping 4-0 away win at Athletic Bilbao at the weekend. The visitors showed their class on 14 minutes following a swift break orchestrated and nearly finished by Kanoute.
He released Jesus Navas down the right flank and his low cross was perfectly weighted into the path of the former Tottenham striker, who had continued his run into the box. The Mali international barely broke stride but his right-foot strike from eight yards was superbly parried by Allan McGregor. The Scottish champions seemed happy to contain but Lee McCulloch fired a dipping volley inches over to lift the home support after a frustrating opening quarter.
Rangers were growing into the match and posed another question of the visitors defence on 28 minutes, but McCulloch dragged an effort wide after he had been neatly picked out by Kevin Thomson. And the contest erupted on 36 minutes when Eriksson denied the home side what appeared a penalty when Konko appeared to trip up Naismith in the area.
The sense of injustice was nearly made worse on 42 minutes when the Spaniards almost grabbed the lead. Madjid Bougherra, the goalscoring hero in the opening-round 1-1 draw at Stuttgart, got caught in possession inside his area and Adriano's shot was brilliantly saved by McGregor, before Navas fired the rebound over.
The Swedish official left the field to a chorus of deafening boos as the half ended with honours even. And the mood inside the stadium worsened on 50 minutes when the visitors took the lead with a neatly-worked free-kick. Lolo looked like he was shaping to shoot but instead passed to Navas and his right-wing cross was headed home from six yards by that man Konko. Papac almost offered an instant equaliser but he was inches away from turning home Whittaker's cross.
Thomson then saw his 25-yard effort tipped over by Andres Palop as Rangers showed spirit after going behind. But Sevilla killed the match on 64 minutes after Kanoute teed up Konko on the right wing. His cut-back found Adriano and he sent a curling right-foot strike beyond McGregor's despairing dive from 16 yards.
Things went from bad to worse on 72 minutes when Fabiano headed home Kanoute's cross to make it three. And things got even more embarrassing 90 seconds later when Fabiano turned provider to set up Kanoute, who coolly slotted home his cross from four yards.
Sub Novo pulled one back one back on 88 minutes with a brilliant 25-yard strike but it was too little too late for the Glasgow outfit.