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Rangers’ Champions League hopes for record after home game against PSV

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Rangers’ Champions League ambitions are at stake after a stunning 2-2 draw against PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of the play-offs at Ibrox.

Gers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst sat in the opposing dugout of former Dutch team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy and it was the visitors who took the lead in the 37th minute when Ibrahim Sangare curled in from a corner.

However, Antonio Colak equalized three minutes later with a smart finish, the Croatian striker scoring for the fourth straight game.

Antonio Colak scored against PSV (Steve Welsh/PA)

(PA wire)

An exciting draw continued after the break and a nasty mistake in the 69th minute by PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez sent a Tom Lawrence free-kick over the line.

However, PSV defender Armando Obispo headed in to equalize with 12 minutes remaining.

The second leg takes place at the Philips-Stadion next week and the pendulum may have swung in the Netherlands’ direction, but Rangers believe they can qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 2010/11 season.

The atmosphere at Ibrox had helped the Gers defeat Belgian club Union Saint Gilloise in their third qualifier last month, with a 3-0 win taking the Light Blues through to a 3-2 aggregate win.

Additionally, on the Gers’ thrilling run to the Europa League final last season, Red Star Belgrade, Braga and RB Leipzig were all sent to Govan, so optimism was high given the usual colors and pre-game noise when the Fans Lawrence and Ryan welcomed back Kent, James Sands and Steven Davis.

PSV had plenty of quality in their squad including winger Cody Gakpo, linked with Manchester United, captain Luuk de Jong and Mexico midfielder Erick Gutierrez.

De Jong almost shed the first blood in the fourth minute as it rained, but his volley cleared keeper Jon McLaughlin’s crossbar.

Rangers’ first shot on goal came in the 22nd minute, but attacker Malik Tillman’s low drive from 20 yards after taking a Davis pass was easily saved by Benitez.

Tom Lawrence was among the goals at Ibrox (Steve Welsh/PA)

(PA wire)

The Gers fans felt their team found a rhythm.

Minutes later, from a corner by James Tavernier, there was a VAR check for a penalty after a header from Gers defender Connor Goldson appeared to smack PSV’s Jordan Teze’s arm, but play eventually went on.

The Dutch took the lead when the Rangers defense failed to handle a Gakpo corner from the left and defender Sangare swept the loose ball into the net from 10 yards.

But the hosts quickly hit back.

Three minutes later, Davis slotted Tavernier behind the PSV defense and cut the ball back to allow Colak to direct his low drive past Benitez.

Rangers finished the first half at the top, Benitez had to parry a Tavernier header and early in the second half the PSV keeper stopped Colak’s slanting shot better.

The visitors reminded Rangers of their threat moments later when Ismael Saibari fired a shot past McLaughlin but also just inches off the post.

The lively attacker then fired over the bar before the Ibrox keeper held another shot well.

Rangers struggled to get onto the field but in the 67th minute Tillman drove into the visitors’ defense but his shot caused little concern for Benitez.

However, the keeper had a nightmare trying to deal with Lawrence’s long-range free-kick when the ball skidded off the greasy surface and slipped out of his hands and over the line, much to the disbelief and delight of the home fans.

But PSV came back and equalized when Obispo headed into a gakpo corner.

The match threatened to go either way and in the 81st minute McLaughlin sped off his line to thwart Philipp Max.

The two teams face off again next week in Eindhoven and Rangers will have to dig deep to make that elusive final step into the group stage.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/champions-league-ruud-van-nistelrooy-giovanni-van-bronckhorst-cody-gakpo-croatia-b2146433.html Rangers’ Champions League hopes for record after home game against PSV

Fry Electronics Team

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