Spartak Moscow’s injuries are a huge boost to Rangers ahead of their crunch Europa League clash next week.
The Russian side were held to a 1-1 draw by Rubin Kazan, but it wasn’t their worst news of the day. It turns out that both Ze Luis and Fernando are suffering from injuries ahead of Rangers’ trip to Russia next week.
The pair are largely considered to be Spartak’s best two players going forward. Both had particularly poor games in the first match at Ibrox, but would be likely to be bigger threats on home soil.
Fernando could be out for as many as 10 days, leaving him a massive doubt for the match. Ze Luis, on the other hand, is dealing with a hip injury. He’s expected to return to training next week, but a date hasn’t been set.
Touching on the injuries, caretaker manager Raul Riancho said the following:
“Fernando will be out for ten days and we hope he will return after that. Ze Luis has a hip injury and we are hopeful he can return to training next week, although we don’t know when he will be match fit.
“Luiz Adriano had stomach problems, but we hope that is just a short-term bug. So we had a lot of injuries to some important players. Because of that, a draw wasn’t the worst outcome for us.”
If the pair miss the contest in Moscow next week, there’s no denying how big a boost that is to the Ibrox side. The duo have made 26 appearances for Spartak this season and netted eight goals and bagged four assists between them.
They are Spartak’s two biggest threats going forward, and this is crucial news for Rangers. Luiz Adriano would be the man expected to replace Ze Luis, but his stomach problem makes that a small doubt also.
The Russians still have lively threats throughout their side, however. Rangers can expect them to be a lot more expansive than they were at Ibrox. Sofianne Hanni was the most impressive Moscow star at Ibrox. He has already bagged an assist in the tournament, and could be the man chosen to do the damage next week.
Steven Gerrard also has injury concerns of his own. Borna Barisic is still struggling with a knee complaint. Lee Wallace and Jamie Murphy, however, remain sidelined. Scott Arfield is now back in the fold after his late cameo against Aberdeen.
Rangers face Spartak on November 8th at 17:55GMT