Soccer

Rangers strike twice but PSV Eindhoven hit back to leave tie in the balance

Abdallah Sima scored for Rangers against PSV (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Abdallah Sima scored for Rangers against PSV (Andrew Milligan/PA) Abdallah Sima scored for Rangers against PSV (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers’ Champions League hopes are in the balance after PSV Eindhoven came from behind twice to draw 2-2 in a pulsating play-off first-leg tie at Ibrox.

Gers attacker Abdallah Sima curled in a terrific opener just before the interval with the Dutch side punished for sloppiness.

However, the visitors levelled through impressive midfielder Ibrahim Sangare just after the hour mark.

Substitute Rabbi Matondo scored his first Light Blues goal in the 76th minute before PSV captain Luuk de Jong levelled with a header four minutes later, to repeat last year’s score at the same stage of the competition.

The two sides drew 2-2 at Ibrox before Rangers scrambled a 1-0 win in Eindhoven and Michael Beale’s side will be looking for a similar outcome in the Netherlands next Wednesday night.

There was no surprise that Beale made a host of changes from the 2-1 Viaplay Cup win over Morton at the weekend with captain James Tavernier, John Souttar, Borna Barisic, midfielders Ryan Jack, Nicolas Raskin and Todd Cantwell and Sima all returning.

Malik Tillman, on loan at PSV from Bayern Munich having spent last season with Rangers, was on the bench looking to make his debut as De Jong led the line, supported by the talents such as Joey Veerman, Johan Bakayoko, Noa Lang and Sangare.

The Govan ground reverberated with noise before the game and in the breathless opening minutes the decibels increased when Cantwell almost took advantage of some sloppy PSV defending before the ball broke off Raskin and flew behind.

Moments later, Gers keeper Jack Butland made a save from a Lang drive as the slick-moving visitors broke with pace and purpose.

The home side were doing most of the chasing but in the 22nd minute a slip by PSV defender Olivier Boscagli allowed Sima to latch on to a Cyriel Dessers header but a tame shot was easily gathered by keeper Walter Benitez.

PSV wideman Bakayoko had two efforts on goal, driving straight at Butland then going close with a curling drive later in the half.

Abdallah Sima, right, celebrates his opening goal
Abdallah Sima, right, celebrates his opening goal Abdallah Sima, right, celebrates his opening goal (Andrew Milligan/PA)

However, just before the break the PSV defence again got into a tangle and when Dessers’ pass landed at Sima at the edge of the box, the on-loan Brighton player curled the ball high past Benitez to send the home fans into raptures.

The second half began with Benitez blocking a close-range effort from Tavernier as Gers fans urged their team on but PSV looked sprightly in their own attacks.

In the 58th minute, after Cantwell was booked for a cynical foul on Ismael Saibari, Butland palmed away a decent 25-yard free-kick from Veerman and again Rangers defended the corner.

But moments later, in another PSV attack which forced the Light Blues back into their own box, Bakayoko laid the ball back, Saibari dummied it and Sangare hammered the ball into the net.

Matondo replaced Sima with John Lundstram on for Jack before Cantwell was perhaps fortunate to avoid another yellow following a hefty tackle on Sergino Dest.

Matondo’s pace soon caused PSV problems and so did his finishing.

Rabbi Matondo, right, wheels away in celebration after scoring Rangers' second goal
Rabbi Matondo, right, wheels away in celebration after scoring Rangers' second goal Rabbi Matondo wheels away in celebration after scoring Rangers’ second goal (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A sweeping Rangers move saw Cantwell break forward and play wide to Dessers, whose brilliant pass took out the PSV defence with Matondo steering the ball past Benitez.

An ecstatic Ibrox was soon silenced once more when De Jong bulleted in a header from a Bakayoko corner.

In a frantic finale, Gers substitute Danilo saw a goal-bound shot blocked for a corner and Matondo drove just over but it ended all square and the two teams get to do it all over again next week.