Europa League - Group D
RangersRangers3Standard LiegeStandard Liege2

Rangers 3-2 Standard Liege: Steven Gerrard's side fight back twice to claim last-32 place

By Nick McPheatBBC Scotland
Arfield goal
Scott Arfield's finish secured passage for Rangers into the Europa League last 32 with a group game to spare

Rangers reached the Europa League last 32 for the second successive season, with a game to spare, after fighting back twice to defeat Standard Liege.

Steven Gerrard's side, so strong defensively this term, conceded from crosses on two occasions before the break when Maxime Lestienne, then Duje Cop, breached Allan McGregor's goal.

Connor Goldson's header, then a James Tavernier penalty, had Rangers on terms at the interval, before Scott Arfield's second-half strike ensured the win that keeps them top of the section.

Gerrard's team travel to Poland to face Lech next Thursday knowing they will win Group D if they match Benfica's result against Standard.

Only a win would do for the Belgian visitors, who travelled to Ibrox with two wins from their previous 10 games.

And they were rewarded for a positive start after Cop beat Goldson on the left before guiding a low cross into the box for Lestienne to finish neatly.

Rangers just could not get into the attacking flow that had been key in guiding them to a 23-match unbeaten start to the campaign, as Standard continued to press and pose a greater threat.

However, as the game approached the half-hour mark, the hosts began to show signs of finding their rhythm.

Both Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos tried their luck before Borna Barisic's outswinging corner was met by Goldson, who headed home superbly into Arnaud Bodart's top-right corner.

But just 46 seconds after getting themselves back into the game, Rangers found themselves behind again as Collins Fai's inch-perfect delivery from the right was bundled in by Cop, who clattered into the back post in the process.

The hosts responded well as Arfield lashed a volley over before Kemar Roofe's strike struck a hand in the Standard box, allowing Tavernier to convert his ninth spot-kick of the season just before the break.

Group D

Similar to the first period, the Belgian outfit were the brighter of the two in the opening stages of the second half as Allan McGregor - setting a new record of European appearances for Rangers - saved well from close range after Abdoul Tapsoba was slipped through on goal.

However, with the best move of the game, Rangers would take the lead for the first time as superb build-up resulted in Kent crossing low from the left to find Arfield steaming into the box to smash home from 12 yards.

The goal sparked the hosts into life, and they could have won the game by more if it not for some outstanding saves from Bodart in the Standard goal.

The goalkeeper was forced into a series of fantastic stops from free-kicks by Tavernier and Barisic, before saving another Goldson header and a close-range effort from Roofe.

The win extends the Ibrox club's unbeaten run to 24 games and next Thursday they have the opportunity to top the group if they can match second-placed Benfica's result.

Man of the match - Scott Arfield

Arfield celebration
Arfield has been a vital cog in Gerrard's side this season, and this was on show again on Thursday as the 32-year-old smashed home the winner and was a constant option in linking the midfield and attack

What did we learn?

Gerrard's side had only found themselves behind in two of their previous 23 games this campaign, so trailing twice to a bright and aggressive Standard side was a new test. However, despite looking disjointed in spells, the response from the hosts was ruthless as they yet again found a way to win.

Since his appointment, Gerrard has always been recognised as a success in Europe, but for the third consecutive year there has been improvement.

This is the first time he has guided his side to the knockout stage with a game to spare he has the chance to top the group next week, something he is yet to achieve.

Match stats

  • Rangers have lost just one of their last 22 home matches in Europe, including qualifiers (W15 D6).
  • Standard have lost four of their five Europa League group stage games, having lost just four of their previous 16 (W6 D6 L4).
  • Rangers conceded the opener in a home game for the first time this season, in their 12th game.
  • 12 of the last 15 goals Rangers have conceded in all competitions have been in Europe.
  • Tavernier has scored 15 goals in his last 19 matches for Rangers - eight more than any other player.
  • There were just 100 seconds between Goldson's equaliser and Cop making it 2-1 to Standard.

What's next?

Rangers return to Scottish Premiership duties this Sunday as they travel to Dingwall to face Ross County (12:00 GMT).

Line-ups

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 2TavernierBooked at 72mins
  • 6Goldson
  • 26Balogun
  • 31BarisicSubstituted forBasseyat 89'minutes
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted forZunguat 86'minutes
  • 10Davis
  • 18Kamara
  • 25RoofeBooked at 85minsSubstituted forIttenat 89'minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forAriboat 79'minutes
  • 14Kent

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 7Hagi
  • 11Itten
  • 15Zungu
  • 16Patterson
  • 17Aribo
  • 21Barker
  • 24Stewart
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 36Barjonas
  • 55Dickson
  • 61King

Standard Liege

Formation 3-4-3

  • 16Bodart
  • 6DussenneBooked at 71mins
  • 20Bokadi
  • 34Laifis
  • 21FaiBooked at 90mins
  • 28Bastien
  • 15ShamirSubstituted forRaskinat 71'minutes
  • 27JansSubstituted forGavoryat 86'minutes
  • 22LestienneSubstituted forAvenattiat 71'minutes
  • 23Tapsoba
  • 7CopSubstituted forBalikwishaat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gillet
  • 5Sissako
  • 12Sylvestre
  • 24Gavory
  • 25Avenatti
  • 26Raskin
  • 29Carcela-Gonzalez
  • 30Henkinet
  • 32Balikwisha
  • 33Pavlovic
  • 40Landu
  • 41Siquet
Referee:
Bojan Pandzic

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamStandard Liege
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home16
Away10
Shots on Target
Home8
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away7
Fouls
Home11
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Rangers 3, Standard Liège 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Rangers 3, Standard Liège 2.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Rangers. Allan McGregor tries a through ball, but Cedric Itten is caught offside.

  4. Booking

    Collins Fai (Standard Liège) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Collins Fai (Standard Liège).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Cedric Itten (Rangers).

  8. Post update

    Merveille Bokadi (Standard Liège) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Cedric Itten replaces Kemar Roofe.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Calvin Bassey replaces Borna Barisic.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Merveille Bokadi (Standard Liège).

  12. Post update

    Joe Aribo (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Standard Liège. Nicolas Gavory replaces Laurent Jans.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Bongani Zungu replaces Scott Arfield.

  15. Booking

    Kemar Roofe (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Kemar Roofe (Rangers).

  17. Post update

    Noe Dussenne (Standard Liège) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kemar Roofe (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Connor Goldson.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Rangers. Steven Davis tries a through ball, but Kemar Roofe is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leon Balogun (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Borna Barisic with a cross following a corner.

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 3rd December 2020

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Roma54101221013
2Young Boys52127617
3CFR Cluj512238-55
4CSKA Sofia502306-62

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal55001631315
2Molde530279-29
3Rapid Vienna5203911-26
4Dundalk5005615-90

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Slavia Prague5401116512
2B Leverkusen5401178912
3Nice5104815-73
4Hapoel Be'er Sheva5104613-73

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers5320117411
2Benfica5320167911
3Lech Poznan5104612-63
4Standard Liege5104512-73

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Granada531163310
2PSV Eindhoven530289-19
3PAOK Salonika51228715
4Omonia Nicosia511358-34

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Napoli531163310
2Real Sociedad52214318
3AZ Alkmaar52216338
4HNK Rijeka5014411-71

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester5311125710
2Sporting Braga53111210210
3Zorya Luhansk520369-36
4AEK Athens5104713-63

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Lille5320125711
2AC Milan5311117410
3Sparta Prague52031011-16
4Celtic5014717-101

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal5410145913
2Maccabi Tel-Aviv522157-28
3Sivasspor5203910-16
4FK Qarabag5014410-61

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Royal Antwerp540183512
2Tottenham5311135810
3LASK5212811-37
4Ludogorets5005616-100

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Zagreb532060611
2RZ Pellets WAC52126607
3Feyenoord512247-35
4CSKA Moscow503225-33

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hoffenheim54101311213
2Red Star Belgrade531194510
3Slovan Liberec5203413-96
4KAA Gent5005311-80
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