Rangers keep Champions League dream alive with 3-0 win over USG at Ibrox

Rangers will now play PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League play-off round.

Rangers keep Champions League dream alive with 3-0 comeback win over USG at Ibrox SNS Group

Rangers have kept their Champions League group stage dreams alive following a 3-0 comeback win over Union Saint-Gilloise at Ibrox.

The win means only a two legged play-off against PSV Eindhoven stands between Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men and a return to the continent’s flagship tournament for the first time in over a decade.

USG came to Glasgow defending a two goal lead from their first leg win in Belgium last week but Rangers managed to overturn the deficit with another famous European night in the city’s southside.

Captain James Tavernier, who scored seven goals in Europe from right back last season, opened the scoring from the penalty spot to give the Ibrox side hope of a comeback.

Antonio Colak, who kept his place in the team despite the return of Alfredo Morelos, got the all important second goal that cancelled out USG’s first leg lead and USA international Malik Tillman, on loan from Bayern Munich, scored the third and winning goal to send Rangers through.

Rangers knew they would need their supporters behind them if they wanted to recreate the form that got them to the Europa League final last season and 50,000 of them packed into Ibrox in the hope of overturning the first leg defeat.

As kick-off got closer the stadium was rocking and a cheer rang round the stadium when the returning Ryan Kent’s name was read out in the starting line up.

Captain reliable: Tavernier opened the scoring from the penalty spot.SNS Group

And as the game got underway it was easy to see why Kent, who was injured for the defeat in Belgium, gave the fans hope as he started brightly with a couple of jinking runs putting early pressure on the Union defence.

The home side started strongest with a flurry of corners and set pieces in the opening ten minutes with the best chance coming when a Tavernier cross found Colak but his header was just over the bar.

USG had their best chance on the 20th minute after winning a corner when a slack pass from James Sands was intercepted before being turned away by Goldson.

The ball was sent in to the middle and a header was flashed wide of the post.

Anthony Moris in the USG goal was then forced into action for the first time when Colak again came close with a header, this time from a Tom Lawrence cross.

Lawrence was next to try and get that opening goal that Rangers craved when he curled a shot just wide of the post with Moris outstretched.

Both sides knew an early goal for the Premiership side could be vital and they were looking more and more likely to get it as they continued to pile pressure on the visitors.

Sands when then booked for a late tackle on Lazare Amani who was threatening to break away as the Belgian side continued to look dangerous on the counter attack despite Rangers dominating possession.

USG then had a penalty claim denied when a Tillman tackle was judged to be just outside the box by the referee who also booked the USA international.

But the opening goal would come from the spot, only up the other end when USG defender Van Der Heyden was penalised for a handball in the box.

And it was the ever reliable captain James Tavernier who stepped up to send Moris the wrong way and give Rangers that vital goal to take into the second half.

And the second half was barely ten minutes old when the roof was nearly blown of the stadium again as Colak doubled Rangers’ lead on the night and made it 2-2 on aggregate.

The Polish forward, who scored the Malmo goal that knocked Rangers out at the same stage last season, was quickest to react to the rebound when Arfield’s effort was saved.

As Rangers pushed for a third to win the tie outright without the need for extra time it looked for a moment like they would have to finish with ten men when James Sands was shown a second yellow card despite winning the ball just outside the box during a USG attack.

But the referee rescinded the decision after consulting with his assistant and deemed the tackle to be fair.

Rangers were ahead in the tie soon after when Tillman got on the end of a deep Barasic cross to head the ball past Moris and make it 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.

And if the jubilant crowd needed anymore encouragement to get off their feet they would soon have it when returning hero Morelos was introduced into the action with ten minutes.

The Colombian talisman was brought on for Colak and Ben Davies, signed from Liverpool in the summer, replaced Sands in defence.

Morelos came close to putting the tie beyond doubt as Rangers continued to dominate but they were happy enough with the 3-0 and the crowd erupted when the referee blew the whistle for full time just moments after showing Amani a red card for a second booking.

Rangers will now play Dutch side PSV Eindhoven after they beat Monaco 3-2 in extra time in the Netherlands.

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