Rangers have secured a vital point in their Europa League group stage after drawing 1-1 with Aris Thessaloniki at Ibrox Stadium. The Scottish champions are now level on points with the Greek side and will face a decisive match against Lyon in France on December 7.
Rangers dominate first half but fail to score
The hosts started the game with high intensity and created several chances to break the deadlock. Ryan Kent was denied by a brilliant save from Aris goalkeeper Zisis Vryzas in the 12th minute, while Alfredo Morelos hit the post with a header in the 25th minute. Aris defended well and tried to hit Rangers on the counter-attack, but they rarely threatened Allan McGregor’s goal.
Aris stun Rangers with early second-half goal
The visitors came out of the dressing room with more confidence and took the lead in the 49th minute. A long ball from Konstantinos Galanopoulos found Nikolaos Ioannidis in space, who controlled it well and fired a low shot past McGregor. It was a shock for Rangers, who had dominated the first half but failed to convert their chances.
Rangers equalize through Sakala and push for a winner
Rangers did not give up and found the equalizer in the 64th minute. A cross from James Tavernier was met by Fashion Sakala, who headed the ball into the bottom corner. It was the Zambian striker’s third goal in the Europa League this season. Rangers continued to press for a winner, but Aris defended with tenacity and discipline. The closest they came was in the 88th minute, when Scott Arfield’s volley was tipped over the bar by Vryzas.
Rangers face Lyon in a do-or-die match
The final whistle confirmed the 1-1 draw, which leaves both teams on seven points after five games. Lyon, who have already qualified for the knockout stage, lead the group with 13 points, while Sparta Prague are bottom with four points. Rangers will need to beat Lyon in France and hope that Aris do not win against Sparta Prague in Greece to advance to the last 32. It will be a tough challenge for Steven Gerrard’s men, who lost 2-0 to Lyon at home in September.