Nacho Novo hero in Rangers’ top-5 results vs Italian sides before Napoli tie


Rangers face Napoli on Wednesday after UEFA moved the Champions League tie back a day, so what are the Gers’ best records against Italian sides in European competition?

The Ibrox club has had its fair share of famous European nights against Italian teams in the past. None more so than Nacho Novo sending Walter Smith’s side to the UEFA Cup final in 2008. Although positive results weren’t always a draw.

Rangers have faced only German (49), Spanish (26) and French (25) teams more times this week than Italian teams (23) before visiting Napoli. Yet the Glasgow natives have won just six games with the Italian outfit so far, along with five draws, around 12 defeats.

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Giovanni van Bronckhorst will be hoping to oversee Rangers’ seventh win against the Italian side in Europe this week. The Gers welcome Napoli to Ibrox on Wednesday September 14 after UEFA postponed the two clubs’ second Group A match of the 2022/23 season by 24 hours.

As quoted by BBC Sport, the tie is being postponed “due to severe constraints on police resources and organizational matters” following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. UEFA have also confirmed that away fans will not be allowed to travel to the reverse tie in Naples on October 26 either.

Napoli arrive in Glasgow looking for their second Group A win this term after beating Liverpool 4-1. While the Gers are yet to make it after losing 4-0 to Ajax in Amsterdam. So with that in mind, what are Rangers’ best European results against Italian sides?

Rangers beat all-conquering Italian side Inter Milan in the 1964/65 European Cup

Rangers faced Inter Milan in the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1964/65 after defeating Red Star Belgrade and Rapid Vienna. The Nerazzurri had won the UEFA title the previous season, their first campaign in the competition after winning Serie A in ’62/63.

The San Siro side were an all-conquering outfit at the time and they capped a dominant spell with another Scudetto in 1964/65 and again in 65/66. They also combined their 64/65 Serie A title with the European Cup, but were eliminated by Rangers 3–2 on aggregate after holding on.

After the first match in February 1965 in front of the home crowd, Inter Milan won 3:1. Still, the Gers refused to roll over and put on an Ibrox show under Scot Symon to win 1-0 and keep the almighty visiting Nerazzurri honest in Glasgow.

Rangers defeated Torino in 1971/72 en route to winning the European competition

Rangers won the Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1971/72 season and beat the Italian team in Turin in the quarter-finals of the European competition. The Gers toured the continent on their way to face Dinamo Moscow at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, the scene of a 3-2 final victory.

Their journey began with a first-round win over Stade Rennais, followed by victories over Sporting Lisbon, Torino and German giants Bayern Munich. Rangers’ third-round draw with Il Toro saw them win 1-0 at Ibrox and progress after they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Turin.

Defeat was something Rangers only tasted once in the 1971/72 Cup Winners’ Cup, a 4-3 loss to Sporting Lisbon away from home after a 3-2 first-leg deficit. They also beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at Ibrox after a 1-1 draw in Bavaria to progress to the final.

Rangers knocked Juventus out of the 1978/79 European Cup in the first round

Rangers knocked Italian giants Juventus out of the 1978/79 European Cup after drawing the Turin natives in the first round. However, the Gers’ campaign got off to a shaky start after the Bianconeri won 1-0, only to respond to beat their visitors 2-0 at Ibrox in September 1978.

The win set Rangers up for a second-round clash with PSV Eindhoven, who finished 0-0 at Ibrox before winning 3-2 in the Netherlands. However, the Glasgow natives’ journey ended prematurely in the quarter-finals as FC Koln progressed 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw with Ibrox.

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Parma failed to prevent Rangers from entering the 1999/2000 Champions League

Parma failed to stop Rangers from entering the group stage of the 1999/2000 Champions League as the Gers progressed through the two qualifying rounds. The Ibrox natives took the Italian side to the final hurdle that season after a 7-1 demolition of Finnish side FC Haka.

Things got off to a promising start for Rangers with a 2-0 win over Parma at Ibrox to reach the group stage. But a 1-0 defeat two weeks later in August 1999 gave the Glasgow giants a nervous end before UEFA dragged the Premiership side into a tough group stage.

Valencia, Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven would combine to ensure Rangers enter the 2K year not with Champions League football, but in third place in the UEFA Cup. Only two of the Gers’ meetings with PSV have produced victories, while Der FCB were held to a 1-1 draw at Ibrox.

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Nacho Novo’s heroics capped Rangers’ European joy against Italy’s Fiorentina

Novo provided Rangers with one of their absolute best nights in any European competition in May 2008 as the Gers beat Italy’s Fiorentina to reach the UEFA Cup final. The teams drew 0-0 at Ibrox and went through extra-time scoreless in the second leg.

Fiorentina dominated for most of the reverse encounter, but Sasa Papac kept the scores level after clearing Mario Alberto Santana’s effort on the line. Adrian Mutu and Christian Vieri, who also played the last 10 minutes with an extra man, were also close for the Viola.

Daniel Cousin reduced Smith’s side to 10 men 10 minutes into extra time after a header on Fabio Liverani led to the substitute receiving a second yellow card. However, the extra man would not be enough for Fiorentina to stop the semi-final on penalties.

Rangers captain Barry Ferguson made a mistake when Sebastien Frey saved his free-kick. Yet his blushes were spared when Vieri blazed his effort over the bar – giving Novo the chance to step up and send Rangers into the final with Zenit St Petersburg, which they would lose.

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