Rangers v Red Star: Eight players facing ban threat in Europa League tie

John Lundstram has emerged as a pivotal and influential figure for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers side in recent weeks.

The English midfielder was one of the Scottish champions’ outstanding performers in the 6-4 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League knockout round play-offs, including a composed and intelligent contribution when he was switched to a central defensive role in the second leg of that tie at Ibrox.

But the yellow card Lundstram collected against Dortmund as Rangers secured their place in the last 16 of the tournament has seen him added to the list of players who are on the verge of a suspension going into Thursday night’s first leg against Red Star Belgrade at Ibrox.

It was Lundstram’s second caution in the competition this season, having earlier been booked in the 2-0 win at home to Brondby in the group stage.

Rangers midfielder John Lundstram in action against Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham during the Europa League knockout round play-off tie. (Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP via Getty Images)


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It means he joins team-mates Alfredo Morelos and Fashion Sakala on the suspension threshold – a yellow card for any of the Rangers trio on Thursday night would rule them out of the return fixture at the Rajko Mitic Stadium in Belgrade seven days later.

While Rangers will be anxious to avoid that scenario, Red Star Belgrade have even greater cause for concern on the disciplinary front with five of their players one booking away from a ban.

The Serbian champions’ biggest worries will be over key wide man Aleksandar Katai and attacking midfielder Mirko Ivanic. Serbian international Katai is their top scorer this season, taking his tally to 23 goals in 33 appearances with his hat-trick in Sunday’s 5-0 league win at home to Novi Pazar.

Montenegrin international Ivanic is another crucial cog in the Red Star machine – the 28-year-old has scored 15 times this season, including four in European competition.


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Key midfielder Aleksandar Katai is one of five Red Star Belgrade players who are one booking away from suspension going into the first leg of the Europa League last 16 tie against Rangers at Ibrox. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

The other three Red Star players on the suspension threshold are midfielders Nenad Krsticic and Slavoljub Srnic and towering target man Milan Pavkov who has scored 11 goals this season.

Pending yellow card suspensions in the Europa League are carried forward to the quarter-finals. On the completion of the quarter-finals, they will expire and players will go into the semi-finals with a clean slate.

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