Europa League - Round of 32 - 2nd Leg
RangersRangers5Royal AntwerpRoyal Antwerp2

Rangers 5-2 Royal Antwerp (agg 9-5): Hosts reach Europa League last 16

By Martin WattBBC Scotland
Half-time substitute Nathan Patterson netted 17 seconds after his introduction
Half-time substitute Nathan Patterson netted 17 seconds after his introduction

Rangers completed a gloriously chaotic 9-5 aggregate win over Royal Antwerp at Ibrox to reach the Europa League last 16 for the second successive season.

Half-time substitute Nathan Patterson scored within 17 seconds of coming on to restore Rangers' lead on the night after Alfredo Morelos and Antwerp's Lior Refaelov had traded goals.

Ryan Kent quickly made it 3-1 before Didier Lamkel Ze replied in a breathless start to the second half, but penalties from Borna Barisic and Cedric Itten dispelled any doubts.

Rangers will discover their last-16 opponents in Friday's draw at 12:00 GMT.

The anarchic entertainment of the first leg in Belgium had a set a high bar, but both sides once again threw off the shackles and went for broke.

In a frenetic start, Kent - a non-stop blur of blue - stood out. The Rangers winger's direct running had the visitors on the back foot and after sending two efforts skidding wide of the far post, his pressing led to the opener.

Antwerp centre-back Jeremy Gelin attempted to play himself out of a tight spot by rolling a pass to goalkeeper Ortwin de Wolf, but Kent was on him in a flash to intercept and cut the ball back for Morelos to slot into the unguarded net.

Rangers looked in the mood for more and Ianis Hagi's stinging drive had to be parried away by De Wolf at the near post.

It took Antwerp half an hour to finally gain a foothold and Jordan Lukaku's cross was volleyed wide by fellow wing-back Aurelio Buta to serve a reminder that the visitors carried a threat.

The warning went unheeded and moments later Lukaku nutmegged makeshift right-back Leon Balogun and crossed for Refaelov to tuck home from six yards.

Antwerp still needed two more goals without reply to progress, but Rangers' composure had deserted them and Balogun picked up a booking that rules him out of the last-16 first leg.

Balogun was tormented again by Lukaku - who could only fire into the side-netting - before being put out of his misery as manager Steven Gerrard replaced him with Patterson at half-time.

It was a chance of redemption for 19-year-old Patterson, one of five Rangers players who had earned a club fine and the wrath of Gerrard after breaching Covid-19 rules by attending a party.

He had 45 minutes, but needed only 17 seconds to make an explosive impact as the youngster latched on to a Morelos pass down the right and drove into the box to slam an unstoppable finish into the far corner.

Few players thrive on the big European occasion more than Morelos and he provided another assist as Rangers earned some breathing space. The Colombian knocked the ball past Martin Hongla down the right and beat him for pace to square for Kent to blast past De Wolf.

Game over? Not quite in this crazy tie. Rangers were exposed at the back moments later as Refaelov's lofted pass picked out Lamkel Ze to nip past McGregor and tap in.

Antwerp had more than half an hour to press for the further goals they needed. But Rangers finally put the tie to bed when Morelos was tripped by Maxime Le Marchand and Barisic left De Wolf helpless with a perfect penalty into the corner.

Gloss was added in stoppage time as Nana Ampomah clambered over Scott Wright and fellow substitute Itten blasted his spot-kick down the middle.

Man of the match - Alfredo Morelos

The striker scored the opener, was a constant menace, and over the two legs was involved in eight of Rangers' nine goals
The striker scored the opener, was a constant menace, and over the two legs was involved in eight of Rangers' nine goals

What did we learn?

Rangers' European games have become a joyous release from their domestic dominance, where many opponents' only aim is damage limitation. Gerrard's side attacked with abandon and verve in a thrilling contest, with Morelos particularly impressive once again on the European stage.

For all their eye-catching forward play, though, concerns remain in defence. Antwerp put five past Rangers across the tie and Balogun had a torrid night at right-back in the absence of injured captain James Tavernier. In that respect, Patterson's return from the doghouse couldn't be more timely and the youngster has a chance to nail down the understudy role.

What did they say?

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told BT Sport: "I'm very satisfied, the performance was outstanding in a lot of areas.

"The first three were top high-level goals. But, as a perfectionist, we still have to look at the areas we went wrong tonight."

Match stats

  • This was the highest-scoring two-legged tie in the Uefa Cup/Europa League since Helsingborgs 8-6 Heerenveen in the 2007-08 first round.
  • Rangers have won their last four Europa League games - their best run in major European competition since they won five on the bounce in March 1969 in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
  • Despite scoring twice on all three visits to Scotland, Antwerp have lost all three games and conceded 15 goals.
  • Rangers have won 19 of their 20 home games in all competitions this season (D1), scoring 57 and conceding just nine.
  • Morelos has been directly involved in 11 goals in his last seven appearances in all competitions, scoring five and assisting six.
  • Kent's assist for Morelos' opener was his ninth of the season in all competitions - as many as he provided in 2018-19 (6) and 2019-20 (3) combined. He also scored his 10th goal of the season, the first time he has reached double figures in a campaign.
  • Aged 19 years and 132 days, Patterson was the youngest player to score as a substitute in a major European competition for Rangers since Ross McCormack against Porto in the Champions League in November 2005 (19y 97d).

What's next?

Rangers have a breather before returning to Scottish Premiership action - where they need just seven more points to secure the title - on Wednesday away to Livingston (18:00 GMT).

Line-ups

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 26BalogunBooked at 36minsSubstituted forPattersonat 45'minutes
  • 6Goldson
  • 5Helander
  • 31Barisic
  • 18KamaraBooked at 70mins
  • 10DavisSubstituted forZunguat 82'minutes
  • 17Aribo
  • 7HagiSubstituted forArfieldat 71'minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forIttenat 85'minutes
  • 14KentSubstituted forWrightat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 11Itten
  • 15Zungu
  • 16Patterson
  • 23Wright
  • 24Stewart
  • 28Simpson
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield
  • 61King

Royal Antwerp

Formation 3-5-2

  • 97De Wolf
  • 2de Laet
  • 26GelinSubstituted forBoyaat 45'minutes
  • 31Le MarchandBooked at 60mins
  • 30Ulineia Buta
  • 16GerkensSubstituted forAvenattiat 75'minutes
  • 5Verstraete
  • 18HonglaBooked at 71minsSubstituted forMiyoshiat 82'minutes
  • 94J LukakuSubstituted forAmpomahat 75'minutes
  • 11Refaelov
  • 7Lamkel Ze

Substitutes

  • 1Safar Beiranvand
  • 15Boya
  • 19Miyoshi
  • 23Ampomah
  • 41Thiam
  • 48Pavlic
  • 63Van Den Bosch
  • 90Avenatti
Referee:
Pawel Raczkowski

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamRoyal Antwerp
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home13
Away9
Shots on Target
Home8
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away6
Fouls
Home11
Away20

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Rangers 5, Royal Antwerp 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Rangers 5, Royal Antwerp 2.

  3. Post update

    Goal! Rangers 5, Royal Antwerp 2. Cedric Itten (Rangers) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.

  4. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Nana Ampomah (Royal Antwerp) after a foul in the penalty area.

  5. Post update

    Penalty Rangers. Scott Wright draws a foul in the penalty area.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Didier Lamkel Ze (Royal Antwerp).

  7. Post update

    Borna Barisic (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Felipe Avenatti (Royal Antwerp) with an attempt from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lior Refaelov with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Royal Antwerp. Conceded by Connor Goldson.

  10. Post update

    Lior Refaelov (Royal Antwerp) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Scott Wright (Rangers).

  12. Post update

    Foul by Aurélio Buta (Royal Antwerp).

  13. Post update

    Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  14. Post update

    Didier Lamkel Ze (Royal Antwerp) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Connor Goldson (Rangers).

  16. Post update

    Birger Verstraete (Royal Antwerp) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Scott Wright (Rangers).

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Cedric Itten replaces Alfredo Morelos.

  19. Post update

    Nana Ampomah (Royal Antwerp) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Connor Goldson (Rangers).

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 25th February 2021

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Roma6411135813
2Young Boys631297210
3CFR Cluj6123410-65
4CSKA Sofia612337-45

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal66002051518
2Molde6312911-210
3Rapid Vienna62131113-27
4Dundalk6006819-110

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Leverkusen65012181315
2Slavia Prague64021110112
3Hapoel Be'er Sheva6204713-66
4Nice6105816-83

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers6420137614
2Benfica6330189912
3Standard Liege6114714-74
4Lech Poznan6105614-83

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSV Eindhoven6402129312
2Granada632163311
3PAOK Salonika61328716
4Omonia Nicosia6114512-74

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Napoli632174311
2Real Sociedad62315419
3AZ Alkmaar62227528
4HNK Rijeka6114612-64

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester6411145913
2Sporting Braga64111410413
3Zorya Luhansk6204611-56
4AEK Athens6105715-83

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1AC Milan6411127513
2Lille6321148611
3Sparta Prague62041012-26
4Celtic61141019-94

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal65101751216
2Maccabi Tel-Aviv632167-111
3Sivasspor6204911-26
4FK Qarabag6015413-91

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Tottenham64111551013
2Royal Antwerp640285312
3LASK63121112-110
4Ludogorets6006719-120

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Zagreb642091814
2RZ Pellets WAC631276110
3Feyenoord612348-45
4CSKA Moscow603338-53

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hoffenheim65101721516
2Red Star Belgrade632194511
3Slovan Liberec6213413-97
4KAA Gent6006415-110
View full Europa League tables

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