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Rangers will be back in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday-evening and will return to Belgium to take on Royal Antwerp.
Steven Gerrard’s team qualified as group winner from a difficult section including Benfica, Lech Poznan and fellow countryman Standard Liège from the Jupiler League.
The last time that Rangers were in Belgium Kemar Roofe’s miracle goal on the halfway line stunned their hosts and Rangers will take another wonder goal – or actually a goal – if it results in another 2-0 win.
WHO: Royal Antwerp v Rangers
What: UEFA Europa League – knockout stage – round of 32
True: Bosuil Stadium, Antwerp
When: Thursday February 18, 2021, 8 p.m.
How to watch
BT Sports has European football law in the UK, which means it is BT Sport 3 (Sky channel 413) for Rangers fans. The program starts at 7.30pm and can also be streamed via the BT Sport app.
Since the draw it has been difficult for Antwerp. Ivan Leko, their manager at the time, left for China, and then winger Lamkel Ze tried to force a move by training in rivals’ Anderlecht-kit. Things have been smoother on the field, though, with the Great Old moving up from seventh to second in the Jupiler League with seven wins in 10 games under new boss Franky Vercauteren.
Who to watch
Lamakel She’s been knuckling down since his training kit stint, scoring five goals since the turn of the year – but was suspended on Thursday for the first leg. She took over the goal cloak from midfielder Lior Refaelov, who hit seven in the first half of the season and will likely be the biggest threat to Steven Gerrard’s side. His seven goals rival veteran Dieumerci Mbokani on eight goals, but the striker has been sidelined with a calf injury and is unlikely to face Rangers.
Rangers have never met Royal Antwerp and generally have a good track record against Belgian parties. Just one defeat to Standard Liège – winning 4-1 in 1962 made the writing go away.
Other encounters with Belgian parties were victories over Anderlecht 5-2 and 2-0 in 1959 and a home win against Club Brugge in the group stage of the 1992-93 Champions League, linked to a 1-1 draw in Belgium.
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