'Legia did not lose to a tycoon, Rangers are an average team' - Polish media react to Ibrox win for Steven Gerrard's men

Rangers fans celebrate Alfredo Morelos' late strike.
Rangers fans celebrate Alfredo Morelos' late strike.
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Alfredo Morelos sent Ibrox crazy on Thursday night with his stoppage time winner to send Rangers into the Europa League group stages.

READ MORE: Rangers 1-0 Legia: Alfredo Morelos fires Ibrox side into group stage

It was at the expense of Polish giants Legia Warsaw who were the country's last hope of staying in Europe after the qualifiers.

"Football is cruel," wrote Piotr Wesolowicz in Warszawa Wyborcza. "40 thousand fans at the stadium went crazy with happiness, Steven Gerrard was jumping on the bench, the players threw themselves into each others' arms.

"And the Legionaries (nickname for Legia Warsaw) fell on the pitch - from fatigue, resignation and sadness. They wanted extra time and penalties - and they practised diligently last week, expecting a goalless draw."

Wesolowicz praised teenage goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki for keeping Rangers at bay. Alfredo Morelos' goal was the first the Poles had conceded in eight European matches.

"Legia survived the siege of Rangers also - or maybe mainly - thanks to Radoslaw Majecki," he wrote.

"He calmly reminded fans of Artur Boruc, former goalkeeper of Legia and Celtic, i.e. the eternal enemy of Rangers, who that evening mixed in the fans of Legia and cheered his former team."

Piotr Zelazny, writing in Rzeczpospolita, recognised the "provocative" banner, unveiled by the Legia fans of Pope John Paul II in the away end at Ibrox.

However, he noted that it did little to inspire the visitors.

"Before the match began, Legia supporters who came to Glasgow developed a flag in the sector with the image of Pope John Paul II and the inscription "do not be afraid". Of course, this was a provocation directed at Rangers supporters, traditionally coming from Protestant, non-acknowledging pope, families, as well as a reference to the former Legionary and Celtic player, Artur Boruc, who in the t-shirt with the image of the pope celebrated the victory after one Old Firm Derby."

Zelazny added: "And yet it seemed that the Legionaries were afraid. Which was incomprehensible because they saw in the first match in Warsaw that there was nothing to be afraid of. Rangers scare mainly by name."

Although he felt Legia should have gone into the half-time interval ahead.

"Brazilian winger Luquinhas fell into the penalty area, passed one rival (with a good dose of luck), passed the other and was clearly hooked. If the Legionnaire fell over, the referee would have no other option but to give a penalty kick. The Brazilian, however, stayed on his feet and fired. Unfortunately, a very light shot, which McGregor easily saved."

READ MORE: Legia Warsaw fans at Rangers game unveil huge Pope banner as ex-Celtic star Artur Boruc joins away supporters

After the break the away fans let off flares which Zelazny felt "knocked" Rangers and hindered their momentum.

"Rangers' players were frustrated, the hosts' supporters were frustrated, evidently feeling that they had just had a rival on the ropes, that only the blow was missing.

"And when everyone was prepared for extra time, this blow was led by Morelos. Legia had a few minutes to make up for the losses, but the goal was like a blow to the head."

Stefan Szczepłek, also writing in Rzeczpospolita, said the "hosts earned their victory" but lamented the regression of Polish football. He felt Rangers were nothing special.

He called back to 1969 when Rangers lost to Polish opposition, Gornik Zabrze, 6-2 across two legs in the Cup Winners' Cup.

He said: "Legia did not lose to the tycoon, Rangers are an average team.

"In 1969, at the same Ibrox Park, Gornik Zabrze won 3-1. There was a reserve Rangers who spoke years later that he was sitting on the bench and noted every move of Wlodzimierz Lubanski, then the leading European striker.

"The reserve name was Alex Ferguson. If today in Rangers there is someone who in a few years will become a great coach and will be asked about the match with Legia in the summer of 2019, he will probably answer that he does not remember, because no Polish footballer impressed him. Well, maybe goalkeeper Radosław Majecki.

"Now, Legia frightened the Rangers not on the pitch, but in the stands, when the fans lit flares, smoked the stadium and undressed, showing beer bellies."