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Rangers slip to 4-3 defeat against Spartak in Moscow

Steven Gerrard took the lead three times but Spartak had a second-half fightback.

Spartak bounced back to take three points.
Spartak bounced back to take three points. SNS Group

Rangers have been defeated 4-3 by Spartak Moscow in the Europa League despite taking the lead three times in a dramatic match.

The Scottish side enjoyed a dream start in Moscow, taking the lead after just four minutes. Glenn Middleton's corner was headed into his own net by Roman Eremenko under pressure from Lassana Coulibaly.

On 22 minutes, Spartak levelled the score when Ivan Popov swung a cross to the back post, where it was forcefully met by Lorenzo Melgarejo, whoe header was unstoppable.

Rangers quickly got back on the front foot and punished Spartak when Jon Flanagan picked out Daniel Candeias' run with a lofted pass. The winger turned smartly and fired in a neat finish from outside the box to give his side a 2-1 lead.

The back-and-forth of a frenetic match continued and Spartak drew level again on 35 minutes. Nikolai Rasskazov played in a low ball from wide and Connor Goldson made a hash of his clearance, choosing to hit the ball with his right foot instead of left and arcing the ball past a helpless Allan McGregor and into his own goal.

As half-time neared, Rangers again hauled themselves in front. A swift counter saw the ball fall to to Middleton on the left and his powerful finish beat Aleksandr Maksimenko at his near post.

Seconds later, the visitors thought they had extended their lead when Alfredo Morelos finished in a scenario almost identical to Middleton's but he saw the flag raised for offside. Replays showed that the Colombian was unlucky to have had the goal chalked off.

The Russian side made their intent clear after the restart when Soufiane Hanni forced McGregor into a smart save and the attacker played a part in the third equaliser. His clever backheel was blocked by the Rangers keeper but when it rebounded up into the air it was Luis Adriano who headed home.

Within a minute, Spartak took the lead. Hanni tried his luck from long-range and the ball deflected off Goldson and past McGregor.

Having taken the lead, Spartak took control and could have added to the goals but Rangers continued to push to take something for their efforts. 

Katic headed against the post from a stoppage-time corner but Rangers were left to rue slack defending that proved to be their undoing.

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