Betfred Cup: Rangers 6 Dunfermline 0: 09/08/17
The Second Round of the Betfred Cup drew Dunfermline Athletic away to Rangers. It was the seventeenth time that the clubs had bet in the League Cup and the Fifers only win was the very first encounter in 1951. The Gers like the sight of the Pars in this competition, they have reached the final 10 times in the last 12 seasons that they have met winning the trophy 10 times.
Allan Johnston was able to bring back captain Callum Morris, David Hopkirk and Declan McManus who was in the midst of his two league match suspension. Callum Smith and Jean Yves M`Voto found themselves on the subs bench and Fraser Aird was absent.
Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha made four changes from the side that defeated Motherwell in their opening Premier League fixtures. In came James Tavernier, Jordan Rossiter and keeper Jak Alnwick in place of Ryan Jack, Lee Hodson, Eduaro Herrera and Wes Foderingham. Just ahead of kick off it was announced that Lee Hodson would start in place of Lee Wallace.
Rangers kicked off with the visitors playing towards the Copeland Road end and it was the Dunfermline keeper Sean Murdoch who was first in action sprinting 35 yards out to meet a weak passback in the third minute.
It took Rangers just two further minutes however before they tested Murdoch again. Morris was robbed of possession by Alfredo Morelos. He travelled into the right byeline before a cut back set up a shot from just twelve yards out that the keeper palmed away. The ball fell to captain Kenny MILLER and he smashed his shot into the roof of the net. 1-0
Rangers had the ball in the net 80 seconds later but this time the offside flag had been raised. But then in ninth minute a tug by Morris on Morelos handed the Ibrox club a free kick on the edge of the penalty box. A cracking effort from Bruno ALVES found the left side of the net. 2-0
Taverier whizzed another good chance narrowly wide left three minutes later and Graham Dorrans next met a Miller cut back to release a powerful effort at goal but Nat Wedderburn came between ball and goal.
McManus got in the Pars first shot of the evening but from 25 yards out there was never enough on it to trouble Alnwick, the tangerine kitted keeper. Then in 18 minutes the visitors forced two corners, one from either side before earning a free kick 24 yards out. McManus chipped the Rangers wall only to see the crossbar keep the ball out.
Lee Ashcroft sustained a cut at the second corner and left the field for treatment leaving Wedderburn patrolling his beat. While down to ten the Pars almost conceded again but Hodson crashed his effort over the bar from the edge of the six yard box.
Then having been restored to 11 aside a break in 23 minutes by Candeias down the right allowed a switch of the ball to MORELOS on the left who finished clinically just inside the left upright. 3-0
Three minutes later TAVERNIER latched on to the ball as the Pars defence appealed for offside and drove the ball into the net for another Rangers goal.
The Pars management team made a tactical substitution in 29 minutes. Jean Yves M`Voto was brought on as the Fifers went to five at the back with Hopkirk being withdrawn in the shake up. The speed of Candeias had created much torment for the visitors and even with the re-inforced defences he again broke in to send the ball wide of Murdoch`s goal. Morris then made a fine tackle on Morelos 15 yards out then minutes later the Pars skipper made a great timely block as Miller positioned himself to try and finish a 42nd minute Morelos lay off from 20 yards.
With 59% possession it had been 45 minutes of total Rangers dominance. Eleven shots to the Pars three and bizarrely three Dunfermline corners to Rangers none.
Half time: Rangers 4 Dunfermline 0
The second half was only 50 seconds old Morelos tested Murdoch and after Rangers forced a 47th minute corner play got well and truly bogged down in the Dunfermline half. Cardle collected a booking when clipping Morelos and then when McManus hit on the break Higginbotham ran out of space on the left as a chance developed.
There was more optimism when Ryan Williamson was able to cut back from the right byeline in 53rd minute but his pass was cut out before it could reach the awaiting Cardle. Back at the other end Alves had another attempt from a free kick on the left 25 yards out but this time he hit a defender and when the ball broke Miller sent it into the sidenetting.
When Morris was penalised for his challenge on Miller, Rangers were given another opportunity from a free kick 25 yards out. This time Daniel CANDEIAS dispatched the ball into the Dunfermline net. 5-0 and 57 minutes on the clock.
Rangers had withdrawn Alves and Miller to introduce Danny Wilson and Bruno Alves before in 62 minutes Dean Shiels replaced Kallum Higginbotham. Canderias sent another pass into the six yard box that M`Voto turned away for a corner on the left. Fortunately Morris headed that clear and Tavernier from 30 yards launched his shot high into the crowd.
At the midpoint of the second half Dorrans ran through the centre, played the ball of Kranjcar on the edge of the area but the defence halted that. Scott Lochhead replaced Joe Cardle and Jason Holt for Rangers instead of Dorrans.
The Pars took the pressure off their defence forcing another two corners but there was to be amendment to the scoreline. There was a long shot from Morris in 74 minutes that made Alnwick clutch the ball as it dropped down on his line.
His opposite number made a good save as Tavernier burst through on to a Kranjcar lay off and the full back fired a strong shot on target. Unluckily for Sean Murdoch the ball spun to his right for Man of the Match, Alfredo MORELOS to stick away his second of the night. 6-0
Eight minutes from time Murdoch saved firstly from Windass and then from Morelos. The Ibrox side dropped the pace but held on to possession to see out the tie and progress to round three.
RANGERS: Jak Alnwick: James Taviernier, Fabio Cardoso, Bruno Alves (Danny Wilson 56), Lee Hodson: Daniel Candeias, Jordan Rossiter, Graham Dorrans (Jason Holt 69), Josh Windass, Kenny Miller (Niko Kranjcar 59), Alfredo Morelas.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Jack, Ryan Hardie, Wesley Foderingham (GK).
SCORERS: Miller (5), Alves (9), Morelos (23, 75), Tavernier (27), Candeias (57)
YELLOW CARD: Morelos (24), Rossiter (41)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c) Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin: Kallum Higginbotham (Dean Shiels, 62), Michael Paton, Nat Wedderburn, Joe Cardle (Scott Lochhead 68): David Hopkirk (Jean Yves M`Voto 29), Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Smith, Aaron Splaine, Jason Talbot, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Cardle (50)
REFEREE: Don Robertson
WEATHER: Sunny 21C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Inverness Caley Thistle, Staurday 12th August 2017 3.00pm kick off at East End Park
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