Gers rocked by late leveller

Matias Fernandez's late goal denied Rangers a win in the 1st leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against Sporting as they drew 1-1 at Ibrox.

Last Updated: 17/02/11 at 22:35 Post Comment

Whittaker (l): Celebrates at Ibrox

Whittaker (l): Celebrates at Ibrox

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Steven Whittaker - who netted a superb goal against the same team en-route to the UEFA Cup final three years ago - was on the scoresheet again on Thursday night but it was not enough to claim victory at Ibrox.

The tie now hangs in the balance ahead of next week's second leg in Lisbon.

Kyle Lafferty was handed the role of lone striker as Rangers made three changes from their 6-0 win over Motherwell, with El-Hadji Diouf making his debut playing just behind Lafferty.

As well as Lafferty, Richard Foster and Maurice Edu were both added to the team, with Kyle Bartley dropping to the bench.

Injury doubt Steven Naismith was also named among the substitutes, while Nikica Jelavic was ineligible for the European clash.

Rangers carved out the first real chance of the game when Madjid Bougherra weaved his way past a couple of players before unleashing the shot, but his effort was weak and easily smothered by goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

At the other end, a poor clearance from Allan McGregor gifted possession to Sporting, but the goalkeeper was able to breathe a sigh of relief when Maniche's tame shot fell well wide of the target.

McGregor then comfortably gathered a curling free-kick from Cristiano after the visitors had the chance to pile on the pressure when David Weir conceded a foul 25 yards out.

Sporting squandered another decent chance when Helder Postiga's angled drive fizzed across the face of goal and past the upright.

The best chance so far fell to Rangers when Diouf released Whittaker down the right flank and he provided the cross for Lafferty only for the big striker to nod over.

Diouf then tried to pick out Lafferty in the box for the header, but the goalkeeper punched clear before Whittaker hooked the rebound over.

McGregor came to the rescue of Rangers just before the break when he blocked a point-blank effort from Yannick Djalo.

Rangers looked dangerous after the interval and could have been ahead within a minute of the restart.

Diouf provided the knockdown for Whittaker and his thunderous shot drew a decent save from Patricio.

Rangers continued to press for the opener and Lafferty saw his shot deflected past goal before Sasa Papac's effort from distance also fell across the goal and wide.

The breakthrough came after 66 minutes when Whittaker rose above everyone else in the box to meet Vladimir Weiss' corner and dispatch a powerful header into the back of the net.

Sporting could have levelled when former Rangers favourite Pedro Mendes tried his luck with a shot that was spilled by McGregor.

Postiga followed up and rifled into the side netting but he was offside anyway.

However, Sporting claimed what could be a crucial away goal with a minute to go when substitute Fernandez met a cross from the right and bulleted a header past McGregor.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Wednesday, 27 May 2015
19:45
Dnipro 2-3 Sevilla  
Thursday, 14 May 2015
20:05
Dnipro 1-0 Napoli  
Fiorentina 0-2 Sevilla  
Thursday, 07 May 2015
Napoli 1-1 Dnipro Report
Sevilla 3-0 Fiorentina Report
Thursday, 23 April 2015
Dnipro 1-0 Club Brugge  
Fiorentina 2-0 Dynamo Kiev  
Napoli 2-2 Wolfsburg  
Zenit 2-2 Sevilla  
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Club Brugge 0-0 Dnipro  

Footer 365

FA chairman Greg Dyke says Sepp Blatter "has to go".

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke insists that "Sepp Blatter has to go as FIFA president".

Jack Warner has been arrested and bailed in Trinidad

Jack Warner has been arrested and will be released on bail in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the FIFA investigation.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter welcomes US investigations

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has issued a statement welcoming investigations by US and Swiss authorities

Mail Box

Vidic Is Part Of United's 'Budget XI'

We have post-2000 budget XIs on behalf of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs. Plus gaelic football, FIFA, more awards and the majesty of Il Fenomeno...

Europa League: Hardly The AIA Cup

A Spurs fan definitely isn't bothered his side aren't in the Europa League final tonight. Also, a warning about Michael Laudrup, and how to build a team with less than £20m.

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company