Alfredo Morelos holds the key to Rangers’ success against Spartak Moskva
Rangers will face off against Russian heavyweights Spartak Moskva in their third Group G encounter of the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League at the Ibrox Stadium on Thursday night.
Led by manager Steven Gerrard, the Gers have started their European campaign on a strong note, earning a 2-2 draw against La Liga club Villarreal in the opening game. That win was followed by a thumping 3-1 victory over Austrian outfit Rapid Wien. With four points from two matches, the Light Blues sit at the top of the group and another victory this week would all but guarantee a spot in the next round.
Rangers are in good form, having won six of their last eight matches (D1, L1). And they will be helped by the fact that Spartak haven’t been all that consistent so far this term. The Russians are seated at the bottom of Group G, having collected just a point in their two matches, while their domestic form has been iffy as well – they picked up just one victory in their previous four games.
Playing at home, Rangers stand a good chance of bagging all three points on Thursday and take a step towards qualifying to the Round of 32 stage. They are likely to be without key men Scott Arfield and Borna Barisic for the game due to injuries, but one man who will need to be at the top of his game is star striker Alfredo Morelos.
Having joined the Ibrox outfit in the summer of 2017, El Bufalo has established himself as the undisputed first-choice striker at the club. After a stellar debut campaign, that saw him score 18 goals and set up 8 more in 43 appearances across all competitions, the 22-year-old looks set to better his tally this time out.
Just three months into the 2018/19 term, Morelos has already found the back of the net on 12 occasions in 20 matches in all competitions, while also chalking up 8 assists. Having missed the Europa League opener against Villarreal, the Colombian forward struck two goals in the next game against Rapid Wien and also won the penalty that captain James Tavernier bundled home on the night.
Heading into Thursday’s game, Morelos is in fine form, having scored twice and set up three more goals in his last two league appearances against Hearts and Hamilton Academical. The Colombian international has drawn criticism often for his wastefulness in front of the goal. However, he seems to have worked hard to improve on that in recent weeks.
Strong and powerful, the 22-year-old possesses a good turn of pace as well, making him a dangerous prospect to go up against. And considering the form he has been in lately, Morelos will be the Gers’ biggest drawing card when they face Spartak on Thursday.