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Rangers vs Galatasaray. Europa League Qualifying Play-Offs Round.

Ibrox Stadium.

Rangers 2

  • S Arfield (52nd minute)
  • J Tavernier (59th minute)

Galatasaray 1

  • M do Nascimento Teixeira (87th minute)

Rangers 2-1 Galatasaray: Steven Gerrard's side reach Europa League group stage

Report as Scott Arfield and James Tavernier send Steven Gerrard's side through to Friday's draw; follow draw with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app

James Tavernier celebrates scoring for Rangers against Galatasaray at Ibrox
Image: James Tavernier celebrates scoring for Rangers against Galatasaray at Ibrox

Rangers reached the Europa League group stage for a third year running after a 2-1 win over Galatasaray at Ibrox.

Steven Gerrard had admitted that his hopes of finally securing the extra midfielder he has long desired hung on whether his team could make it to the money-spinning group phase once again.

And he will now hope for a squad boost before Monday's transfer deadline after goals from Scott Arfield and James Tavernier sealed a crucial victory in the one-legged play-off tie.

Gerrard picked Arfield out for special praise this week after an impressive return to form and the midfielder repaid his manager's show of faith with the opener seven minutes into the second half, with skipper Tavernier pouncing moments later (59) for his seventh goal in as many games.

Galatasaray defender Marcao struck three minutes from time but Fatih Terim's men could not complete what would have been a dramatic late comeback to dent Gers' impressive Europa League record of winning 19 qualifiers without losing a single leg.

How Rangers

Scott Arfield set Rangers on course for the Europa League group stage
Image: Scott Arfield set Rangers on course for the Europa League group stage

The new handball rules have been causing controversy in England but Latvian referee Andris Treimani saw nothing untoward early on when a Connor Goldson header appeared to strike Martin Linnes' arm.

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It was a positive start from the Light Blues, with skipper Tavernier delivering a delicious cross which just evaded Arfield's outstretched toe.

But Rangers were perhaps guilty of showing Galatasaray a bit too much respect, refusing to press the visitors with the usual ferocity they would normally muster when roared on by a full house.

A mix-up between Goldson and Arfield allowed Galatasaray to break at speed but there was a lucky let-off as Sofiane Feghouli's wild finish ended up in the Copland Rear.

Galatasaray had a penalty shout of their own on the half-hour mark as a Feghouli cross appeared to strike Arfield on the arm but again the award was not given.

Felip Helander made a vital interception to stop Feghouli bursting through on Allan McGregor's goal just after the break - and its value was underlined moments later as Arfield swept Rangers ahead.

Tavernier fired a ball into Hagi's feet just as Alfredo Morelos dragged his defender away with a clever run.

That opened up a huge gap in the Galatasaray defence into which Arfield burst as he collected the Romanian's pass before finishing with the outside of his right foot.

There was more to celebrate seven minutes later as Tavernier started and finished the move which led to the second.

Receiving a pass from Goldson, the full-back drove up field before passing to Hagi. The right-back carried on his run and found himself climbing above Linnes as Borna Barisic's cross spun up off Omar Elabdellaoiui's leg, to power a header into the top corner.

Galatasaray screamed for a penalty as Younes Belhanda went down under an Arfield challenge but again Treimani looked away.

And though Marcao angled a fantastic header past McGregor from Omer Bayram's corner with three minutes left, it was too little, too late for the visitors.

What the manager said…

Steven Gerrard celebrates at the final whistle
Image: Steven Gerrard celebrates at the final whistle

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard: "This is a fantastic night and the players are very happy in the dressing room, but I want to make sure we have good nights come May.

"European football is very important but for me it is about success in May but if we keep performing like tonight and keep moving this group forward and adding the right players to it then maybe we can.

"I told the players it is fantastic in Europe, but this club is built on success and that's trophies. The expectation doesn't change but we take that and the challenge for me is can I get this team in the mix come May.

"They have big shoes to fill as so many fantastic teams in the past have been successful and that won't change. We are aware of that and we will deal with it and take each game as it comes. The challenge for me is can I get this team in the mix come May."

When is the Europa League draw?

Europa League trophy

The Europa League draw for the 2020/21 season takes place on Friday, with Arsenal, Leicester, Tottenham, Celtic and Rangers set to learn their fate.

The draw takes place at 12pm on Friday, October 2 at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.

You can follow draw with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app.

What's next?

Rangers host Ross County in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at 3pm.

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