Rangers vs PSV Eindhoven. UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round.
Match report as Rangers, seeking to reach the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2010, are held after conceding twice from set-pieces against PSV Eindhoven; Antonio Colak and Tom Lawrence on target for hosts
Wednesday 17 August 2022 12:34, UK
Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst is "confident" his side can progress to the Champions League group stage after a 2-2 home draw against PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their play-off qualifier.
Van Bronckhorst was in the opposition dugout to former Netherlands team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy and it was the visitors who took the lead in the 37th minute when Ibrahim Sangare drove in following a corner.
However, Antonio Colak levelled three minutes later with a smart finish, the Croatia striker scoring for the fourth game in a row.
Rangers: McLaughlin (7), Tavernier (7), Sands (6), Goldson (5), Barisic (6), Lundstram (6), Davis (7), Lawrence (7), Tillman (7), Colak (8), Kent (6).
Subs: Kamara (6), Scott Wright (6).
PSV: Benitez (4), Teze (7), Ramalho (6), Obispo (7), Max (7), Sangare (9), Veerman (7), Gutierrez (7), Saibari (7), de Jong (6), Gakpo (7).
Subs: Branthwaite (6).
Man of the match: Ibrahim Sangare.
In front of the watching Sir Alex Ferguson, PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez then endured a Massimo Taibi moment in the 69th minute - allowing Tom Lawrence's speculative free-kick to squirm out of his gloves and spin behind him over the line in the Glasgow downpour.
However, PSV defender Armando Obispo headed in an equaliser with 12 minutes remaining.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst said in his post-match press conference: "I'm a very positive person and of course we are able to go through.
"We've shown it before also in the past, where we can get a result away from home. It's going to be a difficult game, probably similar to the way you saw the game today but I'm confident we have the chance in one game to go through.
"It's still even but we have to go out there and play for everything and that's the group stage of the Champions League."
The return game is in the Philips Stadion next week and the pendulum may have swung towards the Dutch side but Rangers will believe they can still qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2010-11 season.
The atmosphere at Ibrox had helped the Gers overcome Belgian side Union Saint Gilloise in the third qualifier last month, with a 3-0 win taking the Light Blues through on a 3-2 aggregate.
Moreover, on the Gers' thrilling run to the Europa League final last season, Red Star Belgrade, Braga and RB Leipzig were all dispatched in Govan so optimism was high amid the pre-match usual colour and noise as the fans welcomed back Lawrence, Ryan Kent, James Sands and Steven Davis.
PSV had plenty of quality in their side including winger Cody Gakpo, linked with Manchester United, captain Luuk de Jong and Mexico midfielder Erick Gutierrez.
As the rain came down, de Jong almost drew first blood in the fourth minute but his volley cleared goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin's crossbar.
Rangers' first effort on goal came in the 22nd minute but attacker Malik Tillman's low drive from 20 yards after he took a Davis pass was comfortably saved by Benitez.
The Gers fans sensed their team were finding some rhythm.
Minutes later, from a James Tavernier corner, there was a VAR check for a penalty after a header from Gers defender Connor Goldson seemed to hit the arm of a PSV's Jordan Teze but play eventually continued.
The Dutch side took the lead when the Rangers defence failed to deal with a Gakpo corner from the left and defender Sangare swept the loose ball into the net from 10 yards.
However, the home side hit back quickly.
Three minutes later, Davis slid Tavernier in behind the PSV defence and he cut the ball back for Colak to steer his low drive last Benitez.
Rangers finished the first half on top with Benitez having to save a Tavernier header and early in the second half the PSV keeper made a better stop from Colak's angled drive.
The visitors reminded Rangers of their threat moments later when Ismael Saibari poked a shot past McLaughlin but also inches past the post.
The lively attacker then flashed a shot over the bar before another effort was well held by the Ibrox keeper.
Rangers struggled to get up the pitch but in the 67th minute Tillman drove at the visitors' defence but his shot caused Benitez little concern.
However, the keeper had a nightmare when trying to deal with Lawrence's long-distance free-kick, the ball skidding off the greasy surface and slipping out of his hands and over the line to the disbelief and joy of the home fans.
But PSV came back again and were level when Obispo headed in a Gakpo corner.
The match threatened to go either way and in the 81st minute McLaughlin raced from his line to deny Philipp Max.
The two teams go again in Eindhoven next week and Rangers will need to dig deep to take that elusive final step into the group stages.
Rangers striker Antonio Colak told BT Sport:
"It was a tough game and we played with an amazing support at home. We conceded twice but I feel there's a big, big hope for the second game. We've shown what we can do and we have a big confidence of going through to the group stage.
"I'm happy to score and to help the team. We just need to continue like this to create the chances and I feel we can go and now complete the job in Eindhoven.
"It's a beautiful feeling scoring goals for this club and I just want to continue the hard work. It's 2-2 so everything is possible. It's a good result for next week and our target is to go through.
"We go to win every game and the coach will prepare us very well."
Ruud van Nistelrooy, who took over PSV in the summer, was happy to meet up again with his former Manchester United manager - Sir Alex Ferguson was in the Ibrox stand to watch his former side.
The 46-year-old said: "I was proud that he watched. I'm glad he's well. I spoke to him just briefly but he's well and looking great. His family is well.
"It was great to see him. For him to see me on the touchline at Ibrox is a proud moment for me.
"I learned so much from him. When you develop yourself as a coach, you obviously look back at the managers you had, what they did, how they formed a team, the style of play and how they managed individuals. He is such an example in that sense."
Looking forward to the return game in front of his own fans, the former Netherlands team-mate of van Bronckhorst added: "Next week we have that support but both teams are very level with playing styles so it is reduced to one game, a final at home.
"So we have to prepare and be at our best to get a good game against Rangers.
"I thought it was a game with two halves, Rangers were on top in the first half, although of course we had the goal. We were on top in the second half and created more chances. 2-2 was a fair result and now it is reduced to one game."
Former Scotland international James McFadden told Sky Sports News:
"I think PSV would have been delighted to get away with a draw, knowing the form that Rangers have shown at home - particularly in Europe - and that crowd everybody speaks about.
"So I think their hopes would have been to go with some sort of advantage, certainly without being behind. But for Rangers it does turn into a one-off game.
"They know what's ahead of them, so it makes for an interesting return game. But I think when you lose the goals in the manner in which Rangers did then it's obviously disappointing for them, so a few things for them to work on. But it is also still to play for.
"They would have preferred to go with an advantage, but Rangers have been excellent in Europe so I wouldn't put it past them to go and get a result."
Rangers visit Hibernian on Saturday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports, in the Scottish Premiership; coverage starts at 12pm. The second leg of the Champions League play-off takes place in Eindhoven at 8pm next Wednesday.