Rangers substitute Ianis Hagi spared Leon Balogun’s blushes after the defender’s own goal, salvaging a 1-1 draw for Rangers against Brondby in Denmark on Thursday.
The visitors spurned a number of chances in the first half and gave Brondby their first goal in the Europa League this season as Balogun headed into his own net just before the break.
Rangers struggled to find their rhythm in the early stages of the second period, but Steven Gerrard’s positive changes paid dividends as Hagi raced in behind to lash home an equaliser in the 77th minute.
The result leaves the defending Scottish champions level on points with second-placed Sparta Prague, who were beaten 3-0 by Lyon, while Brondby remain bottom of Group A.
FULL-TIME: Brøndby 1-1 Rangers #UEL
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) November 4, 2021
Rangers started strongly and looked threatening in the first 10 minutes, with Alfredo Morelos seeing a header ruled out and then firing over after good work in the box before Fashion Sakala fizzed a low shot just wide.
Morelos came close again with a long-range effort before Joe Aribo headed onto the roof of the net, but it was the hosts who took the lead on the stroke of half-time as Josip Radosevic flicked a corner on and Balogun inadvertently nodded past Allan McGregor.
The visitors pushed for an equaliser and threw men forward as Gerrard made several second-half changes. Balogun attempted to make amends for his earlier mistake with a well-struck shot on the bounce and Glen Kamara blasted at the near post from distance, but both were denied.
However, Hagi, who was introduced 10 minutes into the second half, latched onto a pass from fellow substitute Ryan Kent and thumped a low drive into the bottom-left corner to keep Rangers’ qualification hopes alive.
What does it mean? All still to play for in Group A
The draw in Denmark – coupled with Sparta Prague’s convincing defeat to group leaders Lyon – means Rangers are level with the second-placed Czech outfit on four points, below them on only head-to-head record.
With two games still to play, Brondby are not out of contention yet either, sitting bottom of the table but just two points behind Rangers and Sparta.
Rangers stay unbeaten against Danish teams
Before tonight, Rangers had won eight of their nine matches against Danish sides in all European competitions (D1), winning at least once against each of the five sides they have faced from Denmark.
However, the Scottish Premiership leaders could not add to that tally and were forced to settle for a point.
Brondby’s European home woes continue
Brondby are now winless in five home games in the main stages of European competitions (D3 L2) since beating Maccabi Petah Tikva in the UEFA Cup in November 2005.
Key Opta Facts
– Rangers have faced Danish sides more often without ever losing in all European competition than they have sides from any other nation (10 – W8 D2).
– Brondby became the first side to fail to register a single shot on target but still score in a Europa League match since Lazio against Nice in November 2017.
– Rangers’ last two goals conceded in the Europa League have been from corners – just one of their previous 41 goals shipped in the competition had come from a corner.
– Ianis Hagi’s strike was his first in 12 appearances for Rangers in all competitions since netting against Dunfermline in the Scottish League Cup in August.
Brondby’s next group-stage Europa League game pits them against Lyon on November 25, while Rangers host Sparta Prague on the same day.
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