Midfielder Teo Kardum bagged the only goal of the game, but it came after a controversial incident at the other end of the pitch when Steven Thompson appeared to be punched by Dinamo defender Dino Drpic.

The referee, who booked Thomas Buffel, Chris Burke and Alex Rae in the match, failed to act however, and the Croatians charged up the pitch to beat Ronald Waterreus, albeit with a deflection of Brahim Hemdani.

Tackles were flying in all over the place and there was certainly no question over the commitment of the players in this ‘friendly’ match.

The clash started brightly enough and Dinamo almost drew first blood in the seventh minute when Hrvoje Cale broke down the left flank but Bob Malcolm did well to clear the danger.

Brahim Hemdani then made an excellent run from midfield, avoiding three challenges before forcing the keeper into a comfortable save.

Despite both sides having trained in the Rogers Centre yesterday, initially the players still looked uneasy on the artificial surface.

Ronald Waterreus got his first taste of the action in the 21st minute when he pushed Dumiru Mitu’s shot wide and then comfortably saved the resulting corner.

Ian Murray, who was the only player to last the duration of Saturday’s 4-1 win over a Canadian Soccer Select side, showed his versatility by playing in his third different position in two matches.

Having already proved himself in central defence and midfield, the former Hibs man started this game at left-back and produced an impressive display both defensively and on the attack.

On the half hour mark he cleverly cut the ball back to Buffel and when the Belgian found Ferguson only some last gasp defending from Zagreb stopped the skipper scoring.

Peter Lovenkrands in the Rogers CentreAlthough the Croatian outfit reported to pre season training 20 days earlier than Gers, there was no evidence of this as Big Eck’s side battled all the way under the shadow of the impressive CN tower.

With the first half coming to a close Lovenkrands switched to the right flank and almost set up the opener for Buffel, but Ivan Turina saved well.

Then a minute before the break Murray almost headed home his first goal for the Light Blues, after Chris Burke’s shot was punched clear, but again the Zagreb stopper smothered the danger.

Josip Kuze’s men came out of the traps quickly after the break however, and Waterreus did well to block Bosnjak’s shot 60 seconds after the restart.

From the resultant corner Dinamo then fired another warning when substitute striker Goran Ljubjevic headed onto the post.

In the 55th minute Ian Murray was then gifted one of the easiest goal scoring opportunities of his career when Drpric sent a back pass directly into his path, but the 23-year-old sliced his shot wide from eight yards.

On-form hitman Ross McCormack came off the bench to replace Thomas Buffel, who was booked for refusing to give the ball back after a foul, and almost made an immediateIan Murray in action against Zagreb impact when he played in Steven Thompson.

The Scotland international did well to turn his marker but powered his left-footed shot straight at Turina.

Almost immediately Zagreb hit back and Waterreus showed he’s ready to fight Stefan Klos all the way for the number 1 jersey by producing a fantastic one-handed save to push Ljubojevic’s lob wide.

Murray moved to right-back when young Steven Smith came on and again proved himself more than capable in that position.

Zagreb also switched things around, bringing on Teo Kardum and it was an inspired substitution when he put them ahead in the 82nd minute, albeit fortuitously.

The midfielder latched on to a cross ball from Ljubojevic and although his shot was going wide it deflected off Hemdani and into the net.

The Light Blues fly back to Scotland later tonight and will now look to return to winning ways against Linfield on Saturday.


RANGERS – 4-4-2: 23 Waterreus; 2 Ricksen (Smith 69), 12 Malcolm, 15 Khizanishvili, 24 Murray; 17 Burke, 7 Hemdani, 6 Ferguson (Rae 61), 26 Lovenkrands; 19 Thompson, 4 Buffel (McCormack 61)

DINAMO ZAGREB – 3-4-1-2: 1 Turina; 6 Jese, 26 Drpic, 21 Cesar; 2 Buliat, 28 Mamic, 8 Tomic, 3 Cale; 16 Modric (Ljubojevic 46), 20 Mitu, 12 Bosnjak (Kardum 75)

REFEREE: Silvio Petrescu
Attendance: 18,159


 

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