Rangers’ Europa League Round of 32 opponents Royal Antwerp suffered a confidence-sapping blow on Sunday with a 0-0 draw against Sint-Truidense VV at the Bosuilstadion.
The Gers came from behind twice to secure a 4-3 victory in the first contest between the two sides in Belgium on Thursday night and while Steven Gerrard’s men kicked on in the Premiership with a 4-1 win over Dundee United on Sunday afternoon, Franky Vercauteren’s side dropped points in the evening.
Despite the return of controversial striker Didier Lamkel Zé, the hosts didn’t have enough firepower and they only worked the visiting keeper three times across the 90 minutes, despite Sint-Truidense being relegation candidates.
The draw extended Antwerp’s winless run to four matches in all competitions, with Vercauteren’s honeymoon period now very much over.
The Great Old remain second in the Pro League table, but given that they are now 12 points behind leaders Club Brugge, who hold two games in hand, their title hopes are effectively over.
Antwerp’s failure to score against Sint-Truidense should give further belief to the Gers squad that progression to the Europa League Last 16 is there for the taking.
The visitors will need to win the second leg by two clear goals to progress and given that Rangers are unbeaten at Ibrox in all competitions and have only conceded seven goals at home all season, that’s a big ask for a team on a poor run of form.