Rangers put themselves in prime position to win the Florida Cup on Saturday with a 4-2 win over Corinthians. After a poor first half, going in at 2-0 down, the team picked up hugely in the second half and played some nice football to score the goals.
As per the Mineiro game, the fact this was only a friendly means there’s no point in reading too much into it. The first half saw Rangers have a lot of the ball but create only a couple of chances. Windass was a little unlucky after a nice touch not to get a better contact on a shot. There was also a Dalcio chance from a set piece which came to little. Whilst Corinthians were happy to concede possession, they did look very threatening on the break.
Their first goal came from a throw in on the Rangers left. The midfield seemed to switch as a runner was played in behind, and he had a simple cross to play for the finish at the back post. Colin Kazim-Richards scored the second, after Tavernier was caught behind the defence playing him onside. The defender got back, but the shot went through his legs and into the far post.
Much like against Mineiro, Rangers looked far more energetic in the second half. The first Morelos goal, from a Goss free kick, was a great finish with his right foot. The second came from a Morelos cutback which Halliday fired home. The third goal was, for me, the pick of the bunch. Candeias held the ball up well and played in Murphy on the run. His left-foot cut back was slightly behind Morelos, but he lashed it into the net with his left foot to put Rangers ahead.
The final goal of the day came from Tavernier after some nice link up with Dalcio. The difference in the performance from first to second half was summed up by those two players. They were markedly better in the second half, being two of the four who weren’t subbed at half time.
For the fans who had made the trip, and those who rarely get to see Rangers play in that part of the world, the second half was a real reward for their excellent backing. There’s been a ridiculous amount of coverage on certain songs being sung. There’s the usual bias and desire to make a name for themselves from journalists there. However, singling out one fan, mainly because she’s a good-looking blonde, is disgraceful behaviour.
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Let’s consider some of the talking points from the game and where it leaves us for the rest of the season.
When you consider that our central midfield in the last competitive match was a 19 year old centre half, Jason Holt and Niko Kranjcar, it seems strange to now be wondering how we’re going to accommodate everyone. Yet with the signing of Goss, and return of Halliday, we seem to have a lot of options. There’s also rumours of Greg Docherty being signed before the week is out, who would provide another option. Our preferred system looks set to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 as such. Players like Windass, Murphy and Kranjcar can play the role just off the striker. That leaves numerous players fighting for the other two midfield roles.
Sometimes, that’s seen as a problem. However, the one thing we haven’t had in a while is genuine squad options. By that, I mean players who come in and are of a similar level to those they have to replace. Without Jack and Dorrans recently, we’ve felt very light in this area. That shouldn’t be the case for the rest of the season.
The biggest surprise from Saturday by far was the performance of Dalcio. He’s had limited chances to show anything for Rangers so far. His performance at left back in the Mineiro game was verging on horrendous. On Saturday, he played pretty well, and that’s not even just a “compared to usual” measurement. He was good on the ball, offered a set piece threat and looked pretty confident.
It was only a friendly, and I’d be surprised if we see him again this season. It’s just good to see that his time here hasn’t completely broken him.
During and after the Mineiro game, both Bates and Cardoso came in for a lot of criticism. We even had fans directly tweeting the club asking that both are never played together again. So just to show how little we all know, both were played as a partnership for the second half and absolutely dominated the game. It’s just another example of how quick we are to react either way.
THE FEEL-GOOD FACTOR
Before these games, many would have considered this tournament to be an unnecessary distraction. The results have not only been welcome, but they’ve boosted the mood among the support in a big way. When you add that to the new signings and the promise of more to come, there’s a positivity about the rest of the season.
As said above, we are somewhat prone to extreme reactions and easily swayed. These games were only friendlies, after all. But it’s definitely worth noting the reaction of Murty when he speaks about the “winning habit”. He knows the players enjoyed this trip, and is in no way playing down their achievement. The players are far less likely to be as reactionary as the fans are. We have promising youngsters, new signings and a new assistant manager to bed into the squad. January looks like providing a lot of changes, many of which are required. Murty is absolutely correct to use any positives he can to make all of this far easier to manage.
With the signing rumours and upcoming games, it’s looking like a very interesting January. Be sure to keep an eye on @rangersnewsuk for match reports, discussion, opinions and various other articles, and let us know what you think!