Rangers reached the Europa League for the second straight game in 32 years after hitting back twice to beat Standard Liege.
Steven Gerrard’s side, so strong on the defensive this season, conceded two goals before half-time when Maxime Lestienne, then Duje Cop, broke through Allan McGregor’s goal.
Connor Goldson’s header, then a penalty from James Tavernier, had Rangers on terms during the break before Scott Arfield’s second-half goal secured the win that kept her at the top of the section.
Gerrard’s team will travel to Poland next Thursday to face Lech. They know they will win Group D if they get the Benfica result against Standard.
Only one win would be enough for the Belgian visitors who traveled to Ibrox with two wins from their last 10 games.
And they were rewarded for a positive start after Cop defeated Goldson on the left before taking a low cross into the box to help Lestienne finish well.
Rangers just couldn’t get into the flow of attack that had led them to an undefeated 23-game start to the campaign as Standard kept pushing and posing a greater threat.
However, as the game neared half an hour, the hosts showed signs that they had found their rhythm.
Both Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos tried their luck before Borna Barisic’s outswinging corner was hit by Goldson, who went home brilliantly in the top right corner by Arnaud Bodart.
But just 46 seconds after they got back into the game, the Rangers found themselves back when Collins Fai’s inch-perfect delivery was bundled from the right by cop, who rattled into the rear post.
The hosts reacted well when Arfield dismissed a volley before Kemar Roofe’s goal hit a hand in the standard box and Tavernier converted his ninth penalty of the season just before half-time.
Similar to the first half, the Belgian team was the brighter of the two in the early stages of the second half when Allan McGregor – who set a new record in European appearances for Rangers – rescued from close range after Abdoul Tapsoba’s slip through to the goal.
With the best move of the game, however, the Rangers would take the lead for the first time as Kent crossed from left to bottom due to his superb set-up and Arfield steamed into the box from 12 yards to strike home.
The goal brought the hosts to life and they could have won the game a lot more if Bodart hadn’t made some outstanding saves on set goal.
The goalkeeper was forced to make a number of fantastic stops from free kicks by Tavernier and Barisic before saving another header from Goldson and a close-range shot from Roofe.
The win extends the Ibrox club’s unbeaten run to 24 games and next Thursday they will have the opportunity to lead the group if they can match the result of runner-up Benfica.
Gerrard’s team had only been behind in two of their last 23 games in this campaign, so it was a new test to come up with a light and aggressive standard team twice. Although the hosts seemed incoherent in spells, the hosts’ reaction was ruthless as they again found a way to win.
Since his appointment, Gerrard has always been recognized as a success in Europe, but it has improved for the third year in a row.
This is the first time that he has led his team into the knockout phase with a game. He has a chance to outperform the group next week, which he has not yet achieved.
Rangers return to their duties in the Scottish Premier League this Sunday as they travel to Dingwall to face Ross County (12:00 GMT). .
attempt saved. Kemar Roofe (Rangers) right footed shot from the center of the box is saved in the center of the box by the goalkeeper. Prepared by Connor Goldson.
Missed attempt. Leon Balogun’s (Rangers) header from the left side of the box is high and left wide. Assisted by Borna Barisic with a cross following a corner.
Rangers F.. . C.. . , Steven Gerrard, Standard Liège, UEFA Europa League
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