Red Star stumble into Rangers showdown

Hamburg - Former champions Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday stumbled into a third-round showdown with Glasgow Rangers in qualifying for the European Champions League.

Red Star lost 2-1 at Estonian champions Levadia Tallinn, with the 37th-minute strike from Igor Burzanovic their key moment. Red Star advanced from aggregate 2-2 score in the second round tie, having won the first leg in Serbia 1-0.

Levadia scored from Deniss Malov in the 34th and Konstantin Nahk in the 68th, but the hosts then failed to create a major upset in the final 22 minutes of play.

Red Star now run into Rangers in the deciding tie for a place in the lucrative group stage, set for August 14/15 and 28/29. Red Star beat the Scots in the second round en route to the title in 1991.

Rangers got their place in the third qualifying round on Tuesday with a 1-0 win at Macedonian champions Zeta Golubovci for a 3-0 aggregate scoreline.

Zeta face further trouble as the ruling body UEFA announced Wednesday an investigation into alleged racist abuse by their fans towards Rangers players Jean Claude Darcheville and DaMarcus Beasley.

Red Star were not the only ex-champion in action on Wednesday, as the 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest took a 1-0 lead into their home leg with Polish side Zaglebie Lubin.

A total 10 games were scheduled for the night, the other four were played Tuesday. - Sapa-dpa

sign up