Glasgow, Nov 30 (IANS) Villarreal blew a great opportunity to clinch a spot in the Europa League round-of-16, drawing 0-0 with a Rangers side who played the entire second half with 10 men.
The outcome on Thursday leaves Villarreal tied on points with Rapid Vienna at 7, though the Spanish club are atop Group G by virtue of goal difference, reports Efe news.
Rangers, with 6 points, are still in the scramble for the two round-of-16 berths with one match left in the group stage, and even Spartak (5) are not mathematically eliminated.
Playing in front of 51,000 spectators at Glasgow’s Ibrox Park, Rangers used enthusiasm and physicality to counter the technical superiority of the visitors.
The home side’s best chance came at the mid-point of the first half, when Joe Worrall found Connor Goldson unmarked 11 yards out only for his fellow defender to send the ball over the net.
Toko Ekambi was the most dangerous attacker for Villarreal, forcing a pair of exceptional stops from Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
With a minute left in first-half regulation, Rangers forward Daniel Candeias picked up his second yellow card of the night and was sent off.
Villarreal dominated after the break, but struggled to find a way through Rangers’ defenses.
The hosts thought they had pulled ahead in the 76th minute, but the goal was disallowed for an offside, and after a brief flurry that saw Villarreal keeper Andres Fernandez compelled to leave his feet to stop a shot by Kyle Lafferty, Rangers sat back to preserve the draw.