Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Rangers failed to take advantage of 10 man Dundee United and Maurice Edu was forced to leave the field with an injury in Scottish Premier League action on Wednesday night at Tannadice Stadium.
Edu started in head coach Walter Smith's midfield and nearly went the full distance before sustaining an injury to his left calf that forced him to the sidelines just minutes before the final whistle.
The US international walked off on his own power but with a noticeable limp and a frustrated grimace spread across his face after the kick had cramped up his leg.
Fellow American DaMarcus Beasley did not make the gameday roster.
Despite conceding the majority of the possession in the first half, Rangers had the bulk of the offensive chances in the first 45 minutes including an opportunity in the fifth minute but Edu's through-ball to Steven Naismith was too heavy and was easily scooped up by Dundee United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis.
The California native was continuously playing forward throughout the match, a recent occurrence in matches and a sign that Smith may be entrusting Edu to be more of an attacking midfielder.
One minute after the halftime break, Edu gathered in a loose ball just outside the area but his searing shot went wide of the left post.
Things broke the Light Blues' way in the 69th minute when United defender Mihael Kovacevic committed a petulant foul on Kyle Lafferty which resulted in a red card.
The two players had been going at it the whole match and it boiled over after a collision for a loose ball. Kovacevic took issue with Lafferty banging into him and proceeded to grab the lanky Northern Ireland man's short and sweep his cleats into Lafferty's leg.
The referee rushed to the scene and immediately gave the young Swiss his walking papers.
With the advantage, Rangers pressed forward and Edu nearly scored his third game-winner of the season in the 84th minute but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
One minute into second half stoppage time, Kenny Miller's top-spinning shot rolled past Pernis and appeared destined for the side netting only to bounce off the right post. The ball deflected to the six yard line and was quickly cleared by the Arabs' defense before an onrushing Edu could arrive to poke it home.
With just seconds remaining, Edu was brought down on and started clutching his left leg forcing Smith to make arrangements for Kevin Thomson to substitute into the match.
The draw leaves Rangers five points shy of clinching the SPL title with a home affair versus Hearts up next this Sunday.