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Page last updated at 21:41 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Rangers 3-3 Dundee United

By Andy Campbell

Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson
Thomson celebrates his late equaliser for Rangers

Rangers missed the opportunity to go top of the SPL after Dundee United earned a draw at Ibrox.

Steven Davis gave Rangers an 11th-minute lead with an excellent strike but Francisco Sandaza soon equalised.

Sandaza capitalised on a goalkeeping error to put United in front after 28 minutes before Sasa Papac levelled before half-time.

Scott Robertson scored United's third before Kevin Thomson levelled with a left-foot strike in injury time.

The result means Rangers remain second in the table behind Celtic while United join Motherwell and Kilmarnock in third, with the Tangerines boasting a superior goal difference.

Davis came close in the opening minutes with a left-foot shot which United goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska beat out for a corner.

But the Northern Ireland midfielder found the net with his next effort as Rangers took the lead.

After receiving the ball on the edge of the box, Davis showed neat footwork to evade three United players before unleashing a shot past Zaluska into the far corner of the net.

The visitors levelled after 17 minutes when Morgaro Gomis' intelligent pass was hit first-time past Allan McGregor by Sandaza.

Rangers top scorer Kris Boyd twice had the ball in the net in quick succession but the home side were flagged offside on both occasions.

Dundee United striker Francisco Sandaza
United striker Sandaza scored twice in the first half

United went ahead when Robertson's shot was fumbled by McGregor and Sandaza fired in the rebound from close range.

Papac brought the home side back on terms eight minutes before half-time when he latched on to Nacho Novo's lob and smashed the ball past Zaluska.

It was the Bosnian defender's first goal for the Ibrox club, having joined in August 2006.

Thomson then combined with Boyd on the edge of the area before firing a shot wide as both sides went in level at the break.

Zaluska twice denied Boyd in the opening stages of the second half with excellent saves from the striker's left-foot shots.

Dundee United took lead for a second time in the 59th minute when Rangers failed to deal with Paul Dixon's long throw-in and Scott Robertson side-footed past McGregor at the back post.

Boyd continued to be frustrated by Zaluska when the keeper pushed wide another shot from the Rangers striker.

Mendes worked his way into the penalty area before sending in a shot which Zaluska held confidently.

The United defence then scrambled away after Davis' dangerous in-swinging cross.

Novo was almost in on goal after Mendes' through ball and though Zaluska failed to clear with his feet, the Polish keeper soon claimed the ball to avert the danger.

Barry Ferguson was introduced for Novo as Rangers chased the game in the closing stages.

And Thomson grabbed a dramatic equaliser when he escaped the challenge of Willo Flood before sending a superb effort past Zaluska from 25 yards.

Rangers manager Walter Smith: "Obviously I'm disappointed to lose the two points.

"I felt the first half was reasonably even but we had by far the majority of the pressure after the break.

"We had good possession and good chances but credit to United they took advantage of the errors we made. We pinned them back but they defended well, there was some good goalkeeping and a few missed chances from us.

"But when you're 3-2 down and into injury time, it was great for the players to show the character to get back and salvage a point."

Dundee United manager Craig Levein: "It was a fantastic game of football. It just raged from end to end right from the start.

"I'm chuffed to bits with the way we performed and gutted with the result. It feels like a defeat. Overall I'm quite disappointed

"We passed the ball really well. We were brave in possession. We did a lot of things really well. The only thing that didn't go our way was the result.

"We defended our line and just when it looked like we were going to do enough to get all three points, Rangers pop up and score an equaliser.

Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac (Lafferty 88), Davis, Mendes, Thomson, Novo (Ferguson 82), Boyd, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Edu, Whittaker, Loy, McMillan. Booked: Papac.

Goals: Davis 11, Papac 37, Thomson 90.

Dundee Utd: Zaluska, Dillon, Wilkie, Dods, Dixon, Flood, Gomis, Scott Robertson, Conway, Feeney, Sandaza (Goodwillie 90).
Subs Not Used: McGovern, Swanson, Kenneth, Kovacevic, David Robertson, Buaben.

Booked: Flood, Dods, Goodwillie.

Goals: Sandaza 17, 28, Scott Robertson 59.

Att: 48,686

Ref: Craig Thomson

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Dundee United's Francisco Sandaza 8.34 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
SPL photo gallery
04 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier
Rangers v Dundee Utd as it happened
04 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier

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