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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2006, 20:19 GMT
Auxerre 2-2 Rangers
By Clive Lindsay

Kris Boyd (centre) celebrates Rangers' second goal
Kris Boyd (centre) scored Rangers' second goal
Rangers twice came from behind to grab the draw they needed to qualify from Group A of the Uefa Cup thanks to goals from Nacho Novo and Kris Boyd.

Ireneusz Jelen slotted Auxerre into the lead after poor defending following a long ball out of defence.

Younes Kaboul struck Rangers' bar before Novo poked the ball home from 16 yards after a slick passing movement.

Substitute Daniel Niculae headed the French side back ahead, but Boyd shot home the equaliser from close range.

Rangers had gone into the game at the Abbe Deschamps Stadium unchanged following Saturday's victory over Hearts.

Auxerre - still searching for their first Group A win and labouring in 13th place in their domestic league - were without the suspended Stephane Grichting.

But the home side were first to threaten and, when Jelen held off Brahim Hemdani, the striker forced an excellent, one-handed save from Allan McGregor.


A Charlie Adam free-kick from 35 yards and an Alan Hutton back header both slipped over the crossbar as Rangers replied.

The visitors started to take control and a superb through ball from Ferguson gave Novo the chance to advance into the box.

But goalkeeper Fabien Cool blocked the powerful drive from 16 yards.

Rangers suffered a blow when Stevie Smith had to go off injured after an awkward fall.

Julien Rodriguez, back in the squad following injury, slotting in at left-back, but the loss of Smith had knocked Rangers out of their stride.

Jelen forced another fine save from McGregor and the goalkeeper was quickly back on his feet to block Pedretti's low effort from 15 yards on the rebound.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor celebrates Rangers' victory
Allan McGregor made a series of fine saves against Auxerre

Polish striker Jelen broke the deadlock after 31 minutes when a simple long ball out of defence from Kaboul evaded Hemdani and Karl Svensson.

Jelen controlled the ball beautifully before driving it low into the far corner of the net from 20 yards.

Kanga Akale curled a drive over and Luigi Pieroni headed over from 12 yards as Auxerre squandered chances to extend their lead.

But it was Rangers who created the first chance of the second half when Novo's powerful effort from 14 yards was blocked clear off the hands of Cool.

A Kaboul header struck the crossbar after poor marking at a corner at the other end.

But Rangers levelled after a slick passing sequence on the edge of the box broke to Novo and he slotted the ball under Cool.

Niculae headed home a Jelen cross seconds after coming on to the field as Auxerre looked set to claim their fourth straight victory over Rangers.

However, the Glasgow side grabbed a deserved equaliser when a Hutton cross broke off a defender and Boyd showed his renowned poacher's instinct.

Auxerre: Cool, Jaures, Kalabane, Kaboul, Sagna, Pedretti, Cheyrou, Akale, Thomas, Pieroni, Jelen.
Subs: Sauvage, Ba, Martin, Niculae, Vadocz, Traore, Lejeune.

Rangers: McGregor, Svensson, Hutton, Smith, Adam, Ferguson, Hemdani, Clement, Prso, Novo, Kris Boyd.
Subs: Letizi, Rae, Sionko, Sebo, Buffel, Rodriguez, N'Diaye.

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)



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