Gers on the brink

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Rangers' Champions League hopes were left hanging in the balance when a late equaliser earned Unirea Urziceni a 1-1 draw and denied the Scottish champions a crucial first victory in the tournament this season.

A 4-1 defeat to the Romanian champions at Ibrox a fortnight ago meant Rangers headed into Wednesday's clash in Bucharest knowing defeat would spell the end of their hopes of progressing to the last 16.

Lee McCulloch thought he had secured the win with a superb strike with just 11 minutes to go but Unirea hit back to claim a point when substitute Marius Onofras grabbed a last-gasp leveller.

The Romanians looked the more dangerous in the opening spell and Tiberiu Balan should have done better when he found himself with a chance at goal early on but his shot was weak and easily dealt with by Allan McGregor.

Sorin Frunza then whipped a decent ball into the box intended for Balan in front of goal but Danny Wilson was able to intercept and punt the ball out of play for a corner, with the home side failing to capitalise on the flag-kick.

At the other end, Kyle Lafferty saw his shot flash across the face of goal and wide as the first half ended goalless.

There was trouble at half-time when a section of the Rangers support clashed with stewards and missiles appeared to be thrown in the section housing around 2,000 away fans.

An announcement was then made over the PA system warning that the game would be suspended if the violence did not stop and, by the time the second half was under way, the situation had calmed down.

It was Rangers who stunned the home side when they opened the scoring with 79 minutes gone when McCulloch tried his luck with an audacious long-range shot which fizzed past the helpless Giedrius Arlauskis and into the back of the net.

But Unirea were celebrating with just two minutes to go when Onofras rifled into the top corner of the net from distance as Rangers were forced to settle for a point.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Kyle Lafferty
European News
UEFA Champions League

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