Europa League roundup: Rangers surge through in style but Dundalk lose again

Europa League roundup: Rangers surge through in style but Dundalk lose again

Scott Arfield’s goal ensured Rangers progressed to the last 32 of the Europa League with a 3-2 victory over Standard Liège. Steven Gerrard’s side fell behind in the sixth minute at Ibrox to a close-range goal from Maxime Lestienne but hit back to equalise with a Connor Goldson header in the 39th minute.

Rangers enjoyed parity for barely a minute before Duje Cop put the away side back in front, again from close range. There was still time in the first half for James Tavernier to make it 2-2, the captain scoring his ninth penalty of the season after Kemar Roofe’s shot was handled. The second half had less goalmouth action before Arfield got on the end of Ryan Kent’s cut-back in the 63rd minute to secure the win for Rangers.

In the other match in Group D Benfica beat Lech Poznan 4-0 at Estádio da Luz to draw level with Rangers on 11 points and make sure of their place in the knockout stages. Rangers will top the group with their superior head-to-head record as long as their result in Poznan at least matches that of Benfica in Liège in the final round of fixtures.

In Group B Dundalk equalled an unwanted Europa League record by losing their fifth group game against Molde. The 3-1 defeat means the Irish side are yet to pick up a point and have made the joint worst start to a campaign in Europa League history.

The breakthrough for the Norwegians came on the half-hour mark when Birk Risa’s cross from the left was cleverly headed in by Magnus Wolff Eikrem. Dundalk were made to pay again 11 minutes later for not stopping Risa getting balls in, this time Ohi Omoijuanfo on the end of the cross to nod in from close range.

The hosts had a penalty appeal turned down for handball and were denied by a fine double save from Gary Rogers but they did get a third in the 67th minute when Martin Ellingsen headed in from a corner at the far post. They should have had a fourth, too, but substitute Mathis Bolly hit a post late on and Dundalk at least had the consolation of scoring the best goal of the night when Jordan Flores lashed a long-range shot into the top corner in stoppage time.

Roma secured top spot in Group A with a 3-1 home win against Young Boys thanks to goals from Riccardo Calafiori, Borja Mayoral and the former Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko. Jean-Pierre Nsame had put Young Boys into the lead in the 34th minute before Mayoral’s equaliser just before half-time. With 14 minutes gone in the second half Calafiore’s spectacular equaliser, a left-footed shot that rocketed into the top corner from 25 yards, put Roma ahead and Dzeko volleyed in a third with nine minutes left.