Rangers kept their Champions League dreams alive despite twice surrendering the lead during a rollercoaster play-off round clash at Ibrox.

Abdallah Sima opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time to give Michael Beale’s side a surprise advantage. It didn’t last long, though, as Ibrahim Sangare converted from inside the area.

A Rabbi Matondo effort was cancelled out by Luuk de Jong’s header as these sides finished level 12 months on from their draw in Glasgow.


Rangers needed to give themselves a shot at glory. Their Champions League future is in their own hands but their fate could have been clearer after this remarkable night at Ibrox.

Twelve months on from their stunning victory in Eindhoven, Rangers will return to the Philips Stadion hoping that history will repeat itself. If it does, a place in the group stage will be theirs once again.

Few would have given Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side a chance of achieving what they did last term after they were held to a 2-2 draw at Ibrox. That result should have been enough for PSV and it could well be this time around after a draw – one that was fair on the balance of play - that surely gives them the upper hand in this play-off round tie.



The Dutch will take Rangers lightly at their peril, though. It would be quite something if Beale’s side could beat PSV on their own patch once again but there was enough in this fixture to give them hope as they seek to raise their levels once again.

Peter Bosz’s side are clearly a quality outfit and they will rightly wear the favourites tag heading into the decisive 90 minutes. Rangers have a chance, though, and that is the very least they had to secure here.


The admission from Beale that Rangers would require the best performance of his tenure was honest and understandable. This was the biggest test of his managerial career and the biggest test of the side that he has assembled this term.

Rangers could have had no complaints had the first half ended goalless. There was no lack of endeavour, but there was a lack of cutting edge once again and a low effort from Sima was the best chance of the opening half hour.

At the other end, Ismael Saibari fired wide and Johan Bakayoko stung Jack Butland’s palms with a powerful drive. Like Noa Lang on the other flank, Bakayoko was a potent threat for the visitors as they dominated possession and moved the ball with more urgency.

The Eredivisie outfit were so frustrated at going in behind that captain de Jong allegedly kicked a door off its hinges after heading up the tunnel. Within a quarter of an hour, Bosz’s side were level as Sangare showed composure to rifle the ball beyond Butland.

Rangers once again did the hard work by getting themselves back into the lead but the header from de Jong saw them pegged back all too quickly for the second time.

It was a case of what might have been for Rangers. This was a game that they could well have lost, but it was one that they could easily have won had the performance been more refined.


The first minutes and the final seconds of the opening 45 minutes were Ibrox at its best. By the time Rangers returned to the home dressing room, they would still have been able to hear the crowd.

Beale had called for a typical European night. He knows as well as anyone what impact those in the stands can have on those on the park on occasions such as this and he needed every marginal gain he could find to help raise players.

The noise from the Union Bears – back in their corner of the Broomloan Stand once again – was constant throughout. Around the ground, the atmosphere ebbed and flowed with the action and the applause at the end was appreciative.

Todd Cantwell sparked a roar by winning a shy, while a flashpoint involving Ryan Jack and Lang roused tens of thousands after periods where PSV had been able to quell the decibel level.

The reaction to Sima’s opener was raucous and befitting of the occasion, a moment that would have lived up to the expectations of those who were experiencing it for the first time. The same can be said for the aftermath of the second Rangers goal as Matondo brought Ibrox to its feet.


Few would have foreseen the omission of Danilo from the starting line-up. The call from Beale was a bold one as his most expensive signing of the summer watched the biggest game of the season from the bench.

Beale needed Cyriel Dessers and Sima to repay his faith. With moments left of the first half, it had to be said that neither had risen to the occasion and a moment when Cantwell fired over a low cross that evaded everyone in the area brought a collective groan from a frustrated crowd.

Within seconds, Sima had them roaring in celebration as he netted his second goal for the club. The 22-year-old had been an erratic performer and shown pace but no poise as Rangers posed little threat but a wonderful finish was quite the way to make his mark on the tie.



His evening would end early as Matondo was introduced after 66 minutes in a double switch that also saw John Lundstram take over from Ryan Jack. In both cases, it was like for like from Beale as the £6milion man stayed seated.

When Matondo rolled the ball into the far corner of the net just minutes later, Beale would have been feeling chuffed with himself as his big call – another that very few would have made – paid off in stunning style for Rangers.

Danilo replaced Dessers and was denied by Walter Benitez. His decisive say in this tie could come next week instead.


The return of Tillman was naturally one of the main talking points as Beale and Bosz conducted their respective press conferences on Monday afternoon. Just weeks after hobbling out of Hampden as his Rangers career came to an unfortunate end, the midfielder was back in Glasgow.

Beale spoke glowingly about Tillman’s contribution to Rangers and his potential now that he has secured a loan switch from Munich to Eindhoven. He wished him well, but only after this tie.

It was no surprise that Tillman started on the bench here. His image was shown on the giant screens eight minutes in and a smattering of boos were audible around the stadium.

The American quickly clocked that he was the reason for the reaction and the wry smile ensured he saw the funny side of it at least. When he emerged to warm-up early in the second half, Tillman was jeered by those in BF1.

That was as close as he would get to the action, though. As the clock ticked on, it became evident that Tillman would have to wait for his debut and the return fixture could well give him the opportunity to silence the support who serenaded him last term.