Europa League: Barcelona held by Galatasaray in last-16 first leg, Rangers thump Red Star Belgrade
Written by on March 11, 2022
Barcelona stumbled to a goalless draw with Galatasaray in their Europa League last-16 first leg at the Camp Nou on Thursday, while Rangers cruised into a 3-0 lead in their tie against Red Star Belgrade.
Xavi Hernandez’s Barca, playing in Europe’s second-tier competition for the first time since 2004, dominated for long periods.
But it was their Turkish visitors who almost grabbed a lead ahead of the return game in Istanbul next week, with Bafetimbi Gomis only denied a winner by a VAR review for offside.
Memphis Depay, making his first start since December, forced Galatasaray goalkeeper Inaki Pena into two good first-half saves.
Jordi Alba, Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong all went close in the second period for Barcelona, but the hosts could not find a breakthrough.
Xavi’s side are still unbeaten in 90 minutes since defeat by Bayern Munich in their final Champions League group game last year.
But the Catalan giants will likely have to find a victory next Thursday to extend their bid to win this competition for the first time.
Rangers took a big step towards reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since losing the 2008 UEFA Cup final to Zenit Saint Petersburg.
The Scottish champions took full advantage, with Leon Balogun adding a third six minutes after the break to put the Glasgow giants in total control heading into the second leg.
Atalanta will take a lead to Germany next week after Luis Muriel scored twice in a 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Bergamo.
Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby’s 63rd-minute strike, his eighth goal in seven games, kept the tie on a knife-edge.
Elsewhere, Abel Ruiz scored in the first minute as Braga beat Monaco 2-0 in Portugal, while Munir El Haddadi gave Sevilla a 1-0 home win over West Ham in the early kick-off.