Rangers’ Europa League rivals Royal Antwerp got off to a woeful start under new manager Franky Vercauteren, losing 3-0 to K.V Mechelen in his first game in charge.

Vercauteren took the reins last week after the Belgian were rocked by Ivan Leko quitting to take charge of Chinese side Shanghai SIPG.

KV Mechelen v Royal Antwerp FC - Pro League rangers

Geoffrey Hairemans of KV Mechelen and Lior Refaelov of Royal Antwerp challenge for the ball (Photo by Perry van de Leuvert/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

It hadn’t been an easy week for the veteran coach after wantaway striker Didier Lamkel Zé appeared at training in an Anderlecht top before by a major injury to first-choice goalkeeper Jean Butez.

Vercauteren’s first game in charge didn’t go any better after three second-half goals left the Great Old toiling.

 

Rob Schoof’s opened the scoring for the hosts just before the hour with two goals from Geoffry Hairemanns in four minutes rounded off a tough first week.

Rangers are set to head to Belgium for the first leg of the Europa League tie on February 18 as Steven Gerrard’s side look to progess to the next round and reach the same stage as last season.

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KV Mechelen v Royal Antwerp FC - Pro League rangers

Abdoulaye Seck of Royal Antwerp and Gustav Engvall of KV Mechelen during the Pro League match between KV Mechelen and Royal Antwerp (Photo by Perry van de Leuvert/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

The return leg will be played at Ibrox a week later and the Light Blues will be hoping they can continue their impressive form against Belgian sides after beating Standard Liege home and away in the group stage.

Just how far should Rangers be hoping to go in this year’s competition and do the club have an outside chance of reaching the latter stages?

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