Rangers substitutes proved again to be the saviors for the Scottish giants as they came back to beat Corinthians, 4-2, after a four-goal, second-half flourish. Down 2-0 at half, despite having much of the run of play, it looked as if the Rangers might see their first Florida Cup loss. But the second half proved opposite. You wouldn't have known Rangers were down as the Scots put the Brazilians right on their heels and never looked back.
Rangers made five changes from Thursday’s lineup, including two players who had great success, Josh Windass, Daniel Candeias, and Michael O’Halloran. Also, Eucio Dalcio was moved out of right back on up to wight winger.
Corinthians kept only three players from Wednesday’s match against PSV but stayed with their 4-3-3 formation with goalkeeper Cassius, defenders (left to right) Guilherme Romão, Pedro Henrique, Fabian Balbuena, and Fagner, midfielders Marquinhos Gabriel, Rodriguinho, and Jadson, and an attacking line of Angel Romero, Colin Kazim-Richards, and Clayson.
In the 33rd minute, a long throw found Kazim at the top of the area after some missed clearances. Kazim sent the ball looping to the goal line where Jadson lobbed a ball back to Rodriguinho sitting at the top of the six, for a clean first-time strike, putting up Corinthians 1-0.
Corinthians found their way right back into the goal despite it appearing Rangers would equalize. An easily claimed cross by Cassio, led to a couple of long passes that found Kazim at the right side of the area. Kazim patiently waited out the defender and sent a hard, low shot to the bottom left corner that appeared to go through the legs of the defender, leading Corinthians to a 2-0 advantage in the 40th.
As with most of the tournament, we saw wholesale changes on both sides to start the second half. Rangers made seven substitutions, while Corinthians changed their entire side short of the keeper.
In the 63rd minute, just off the left side of the penalty area, a kick that had just happened two minutes before but failed, found a wide-open Alfredo Morelos streaking mere yards from goal for an easy finish against a helpless Cassio, making it 2-1 Corinthians.
It took 10 more minutes to find the equalizer, but the game just had it coming. The combination play between an onrushing David Bates found Gomes deep on the right flank. Gomes played a perfect ball to the penalty spot for another easy goal to bring the Rangers level 2-2.
Five minutes later, Morelos found his brace off the left side with a perfectly curled, first-time ball to the back right side of the net to give the Scots the lead, 3-1. It was all capped off with the 83rd-minute final goal, as a deflected cross from Dalcio had replacement keeper Caique make a reaction save at the top of the six, but the rebound put it right onto the feet of Tavernier for the tap-in that gave Rangers a 4-2 victory.
Rangers finish their inaugural Florida Cup campaign 2-0-0 with a goal differential of +3. At this point, only three of the remaining clubs: Barcelona SC, Legia Warsaw, and Nacional have a chance to gain six points, which made Murty very happy.
“Overall it was a fantastic experience through and through at the Florida Cup,” Murty said. “From the result, to the service, to the organization, everything has been first class from top to bottom. We’ll look to use this experience as a good stepping stone as we know our boys can grow more off of this trip.”