Former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Bongani Zungu made his much-awaited European debut for Glasgow Rangers as they grinded out a 3-2 victory against Belgian side Standard Liege in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night.
The Bafana Bafana midfielder came on as a 86th minute substitute for Steven Gerrard’s men who had to come back from behind twice to win it late in the second half and qualify for the next stage of the competition in fine style.
Zungu had already made the match day squad back in the second round of matches against Lech Poznan, but the South African did not get his chance to come on.
The Belgians came out guns blazing from the first whistle and it did not take long before Maxime Lestienne opened the scoring just six minutes into the game after a well worked move which involved Duje Cop down the wing.
Rangers pulled one back through centre back Connor Goldson who slotted home six minutes before the break, only for Diop to put the visitors ahead again a minute later.
The drama continued in the first half when Rangers were awarded a penalty just before the interval and right back James Tavernier stepped up and made no mistake to level matters.
The ‘Gers’ came out with clear intentions in the second half and controlled much of the game and it was no surprise when midfielder Scott Arfield put the Group D leaders ahead for the first time in the game with a 63rd minute strike. Rangers held on for the remainder of the game and Zungu was later brought on to stabilize the midfield as the hosts took all three important points.
Rangers remain top of the group after match day 5 fixtures and have qualified to the next round of the competition, although the group winner will only be decided in the last group games with Rangers and Benfica tied on 11 points (separated by goal difference) going to the last games.
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By Prince Sobayeni