Record-breaker Alfredo Morelos hit a brilliant brace but could not secure Rangers’ place in the last 32 of the Europa League in a gripping 2-2 draw at Feyenoord on Thursday.
Steven Gerrard’s Gers needed a first away victory in the UEFA Cup or Europa League since 2008 to progress to the knockout stage on matchday five due to Group G rivals Porto’s win at Young Boys.
But despite leading through Morelos’ second-half double, cancelling out Jens Toornstra’s opener in a previously dominant Feyenoord display, the visitors could not hold on at De Kuip.
Morelos became the first Rangers player to score in four consecutive European matches, yet Luis Sinisterra netted a leveller, leaving the Scottish side still requiring a point against Young Boys back at Ibrox.
FULL-TIME: Feyenoord 2-2 Rangers
A Morelos double gives the Gers a well-deserved point after a superb second-half performance in Rotterdam. pic.twitter.com/84tiahrRxD
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) November 28, 2019
Feyenoord went agonisingly close to an 18th-minute opener as Allan McGregor could only parry Eric Botteghin’s header and Leroy Fer nodded an awkward rebound against the outside of the post from close range.
Sinisterra was guilty of a glaring miss, blazing over when well placed, but it was not long before the breakthrough followed and Filip Helander’s deflection sent a seemingly wayward Toornstra effort into the bottom-left corner.
Rangers were hanging on by half-time and McGregor kept the visitors in the match with a crucial block as Steven Berghuis ran clear.
But Morelos needed just one chance at the other end to drag his side back level, heading Ryan Kent’s excellent delivery back across Nick Marsman into the same corner of the net Toornstra had found.
With confidence renewed, Rangers went after a winner and looked to have it with another magnificent Morelos header, angled away from Marsman from Borna Barisic’s cross.
An open contest invited Feyenoord to attack once more, though, and Sinisterra, earlier so wasteful, showed immense composure to hold off Helander and dink over McGregor.
And Porto’s dramatic turnaround at Young Boys, with two Vincent Aboubakar goals, leaves Rangers with work still to do.
Key Opta Facts:
– Alfredo Morelos has scored in four consecutive Europa League games, making him the first player to score in four consecutive matches in major European competition for Rangers (excluding qualifiers).
– Under Steven Gerrard, Alfredo Morelos has scored 54 goals in all competitions, at least 33 more than any other Rangers player since he took over at the start of last season (Jermain Defoe, 21).
– Jens Toornstra has scored more UEFA Europa League goals for Feyenoord (five) than any other player for the club since the competition was re-branded in 2009-10; he has scored three of their four goals from outside the box in the competition.
– Rangers are winless in 15 away matches in all major European competitions (excluding qualifiers), drawing 10 and losing five since a 2-0 win at Sporting CP in the 2007-08 UEFA Cup quarter-final.
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