Rangers held to 2-2 draw by PSV Eindhoven in first leg of Champions League playoffs

Scottish club Rangers let their lead slip away twice in a 2-2 draw against PSV Eindhoven during the first leg of a Champions League qualifying playoff.

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In the 80th minute, PSV captain Luuk de Jong’s header, though seemingly unintentional, levelled the score once again for the 1988 European Cup winner. PSV will host the return game next week.

In other first-leg playoff matches, Royal Antwerp managed to hold on with 10 men from the 50th minute, securing a 1-0 victory over visiting AEK Athens. Additionally, Copenhagen achieved a 1-0 win against debutant Rakow Częstochowa in Poland.

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The second-leg games are scheduled for August 30, and the victors will advance to the lucrative 32-team group stage. The draw for the group stage will take place the following day in Monaco.

Rangers and PSV had another 2-2 draw in Glasgow, replicating their performance at the same stage in Champions League qualifying exactly one year ago. In the previous season, Rangers proceeded to win 1-0 in Eindhoven.

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The Scottish club took the lead in the 45th minute, with Senegal forward Abdallah Sima sending a rising shot past goalkeeper Walter Benitez. This goal resulted from PSV midfielder Ibrahim Sangare losing possession inside the penalty area.

Sangare made up for his blunder by equalising in the 61st minute. The Ivory Coast international, who has reportedly been a transfer target for Bayern Munich and Liverpool, placed a right-footed shot into the net from space near the penalty spot, capitalising on a clever feint by teammate Ismael Saibari.

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Rangers regained the lead in the 76th minute when substitute Rabbi Matondo finished a swift break with a sweeping first-time shot. However, their advantage lasted for less than four minutes before the experienced Dutch forward De Jong scored for PSV.

Vincent Janssen, another Dutch forward, secured victory for Antwerp in their first game in the competition since the European Cup in 1957. Janssen, a former Tottenham forward, scored with a low left-footed shot in the 16th minute. Antwerp’s defender Jelle Bataille was sent off in the 50th minute for a bad foul.

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Copenhagen protected a ninth-minute lead, which they gained when Rakow’s Romanian defender Bogdan Racovițan deflected a cross into his own net.

AEK will host the second leg of their match against Dinamo Zagreb next week at their stadium.

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There will be three more first-leg playoff matches on Wednesday, including:

Maccabi Haifa vs Young Boys

Molde vs Galatasaray

Braga vs Panathinaikos

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