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Rabbi Matondo Reminds Wales He Can Still Be A Match-Turner As He Rescues Rangers


By Paul Jones

Rabbi Matondo has reminded Wales manager Rob Page of his talents with a dramatic display for Rangers that revived their hopes of European progress.

The Wales winger came on as a substitute to score against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League qualifying round play-off first leg at Ibrox which ended 2-2.

Matondo has struggled with injuries and been largely underwhelming since he joined the Scottish giants last season from Cercle Bruges for £1.8m.

But the 22-year-old, who last played for Wales against Poland in the Nations League 14 months ago, was his team’s biggest influence as he helped Rangers twice come from behind.

Matondo scored his first Rangers goal in the 76th minute before the PSV captain Luuk de Jong levelled with a header four minutes later, to repeat last year’s score at the same stage of the competition.

The two sides drew 2-2 at Ibrox before Rangers scrambled a 1-0 win in Eindhoven and Michael Beale’s side will be looking for a similar outcome in the Netherlands next Wednesday night.
Matondo’s pace soon caused PSV problems and so did his finishing.

A sweeping Rangers move enabled Todd Cantwell to break forward and play wide to Cyriel Dessers, whose brilliant pass took out the PSV defence with Matondo steering the ball home.
Ibrox was soon silenced once more though when Luuk De Jong bulleted in a header from a Johan Bakayoko corner.

In a frantic finale, the Rangers substitute Brazilian Danilo saw a goal-bound shot blocked for a corner and Matondo drove just over, but it ended all square and the two teams get to do it all again next week.

“I’ve only know him this season but he’s a hell of the character around the place,” said Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland of Matondo.

“You really wish he’d be quiet sometimes but he really brings a lot of energy to the building, which is huge.

“It’s been tough for him. He’s been waiting a long time for a first goal. But in a few games this season he’s come on and made a big impact and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. The lads are all buzzing for him.”

Rangers manager Beale said: “We will go across and be extremely positive.

“There were moments of tonight’s game when I thought we were very good. I thought we scored two good goals and all night we caused them problems defensively.

“There were areas of the game we’d want to improve on, for sure. But everything is to play for.

“Tonight when we were struggling, we fought for each other. We ran for each other, we problem-solved on the pitch. This new group are learning very quickly that big nights like tonight bring us together.”

His PSV counterpart, PSV boss, Peter Bosz spoke of “mixed feelings” on his side’s performance, but added: “I am never afraid of anything. I always think: ‘Go for it.’”

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