Edu and Rangers Handed First Champions League Loss

Rangers' Maurice Edu shoots to score against Inverness Caledonian Thistle during their Scottish Premier League soccer match in Glasgow, Scotland, October 30, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

If Maurice Edu’s last Champions League outing was the best of times and the worst of times, today’s 3-0 loss to Valencia was solely the latter. His teammate Steven Naismith hit the post twice, but Edu’s Rangers otherwise rarely threatened. They had possession for only 33% of the match and forced Valencia’s goalkeeper to make just one save. The low possession percentage was expected because, as has been their custom, Rangers sat back in a 5-4-1 and waited for their opponents to make a mistake. Valencia rarely obliged. The Spanish club’s intricate passing flummoxed the visitors and, consequently, Edu saw little time on the ball.

The gringo attempted just seventeen passes before being subbed off in the 84th.

Edu was a bit more offensive in the second half.

Comparing his passes in the two halves does reveal that Rangers were at least trying to open up the match. In the latter stages of the second half Edu moved above his midfield cohorts and slightly behind striker Kenny Miller. Edu managed to complete all the passes he attempted in Valencia’s half but none of them advanced the ball up the pitch. Defensively, Edu was as helpless as the rest of his team. Valencia’s superiority, and Edu’s advanced positioning in the second forty-five, led to only two interceptions for the American, a miserly result compared to his seven in the previous match.

Despite the disheartening loss, Edu and Rangers are not wholly eliminated from reaching the Champions League knockout round. But if Valencia tops Bursaspor in the next set of matches, Rangers would have to defeat Manchester United to prevent elimination.

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