Rangers strike late to earn 3-3 draw with Celtic in dramatic Old Firm derby

Rabbi Matondo scored an injury-time leveller in an Old Firm thriller.

Rangers strike late to earn 3-3 draw with Celtic in dramatic Old Firm derby at Ibrox SNS Group

Rabbi Matondo scored a stunning late equaliser as Rangers and Celtic drew 3-3 in a frantic Premiership derby at Ibrox.

Daizen Maeda gave the visitors an early lead and Matt O’Riley made it 2-0 from the penalty spot but James Tavernier pulled a goal back for Rangers after a controversial spot-kick decision. Cyriel Dessers had a goal ruled out before Sima scored what looked to be a late leveller.

Straight from kick-off, Celtic broke forward and Adam Idah slammed in a powerful shot that restored Celtic’s lead.

In the fourth minute of injury time, Rangers had the final say when Rabbi Matondo curled in a late, late equaliser that denied Celtic the chance to move four points clear at the top.

Celtic took the lead after just 21 seconds. A long diagonal ball didn’t look to be causing any problems for James Tavernier but the Rangers captain was slack and when Daizen Maeda closed him down, his attempted clearance cannoned off the Japanese winger and thundered past Jack Butland and into the far corner of the goal.

Rangers were shell-shocked and the Celtic press kept them pegged back and struggling to make any quick response.

Connor Goldson had a great opportunity to draw things level after 24 minutes when he headed over from a Mohamed Diomande corner and ten minutes later, the centre-back was involved in another major moment, this time in his own box.

A cross appeared to have been well cleared by the defender but VAR Nick Walsh recommended to referee John Beaton that he review the incident. Replays showed the ball coming off Goldson’s elbow and Celtic were awarded a penalty.

O’Riley stepped up and dinked the spot kick down the middle with Jack Butland diving to his left. Celtic were two goals to the good with just over half an hour played.

Rangers were finding clear-cut chances hard to come by but went close to pulling a goal back just before half-time but Joe Hart denied Fabio Silva twice in quick succession.

Philippe Clement made a change at the break, replacing Scott Wright with Abdallah Sima but it was another Rangers forward who took centre-stage as the hosts pulled a goal back ten minutes after the restart.

Silva had already been involved in several minor flashpoints when he had gone to ground under challenges and he crashed to the turf under close attention from Alistair Johnston in the box. Beaton instantly flashed a yellow card to the Portuguese player for diving.

VAR once again intervened and Beaton went to the pitchside monitor once more. He changed his mind, rescinded Silva’s booking and pointed to the spot. Tavernier stepped up to smash the penalty into the top corner of the net.

Moments later, Rangers thought they had made it 2-2. Sima found space on the right and put the ball into the box and after a scramble, Cyriel Dessers poked a finish past Joe Hart. Ibrox erupted in celebration but after awarding the goal, Beaton indicated another VAR review and disallowed the goal for a foul by Tom Lawrence on Tomoki Iwata in the build-up.

Both sides made changes midway through the half, Celtic captain Callum McGregor, Yang and Adam Idah coming on for Reo Hatate, Nicolas Kuhn and Kyogo Furuhashi, while Todd Cantwell and Rabbi Matondo replaced Silva and Lawrence.

The changes brought legs and kept the energetic pace up, but chances were at a premium. Rangers began to take more of a grip on possession and get on the front foot, but Celtic were disciplined in defending their lead and not inclined to gamble.

Rangers persisted and got their reward with four minutes of regular time left. An attack down the left saw the ball played across the box and Sima’s shot took a deflection on its way into the top corner. The home side were jubilant but not for long.

Immediately from kick-off Celtic attacked and Idah took possession, then found space to smack a fierce shot between Rangers defenders and into the net.

Eight minutes additional time were indicated and Rangers pressed forward again. They found an equaliser in spectacular fashion.

Matondo collected the ball on the left and cut inside before whipping a curling shot into the far corner of the net to send the Ibrox crowd into a frenzy.

Brendan Rodgers’ side remain one point ahead of their rivals at the top of the Premiership, but Rangers will have a chance to move ahead quickly as they play their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday.

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