Villarreal defeated Dynamo Kyiv 2-0, Ajax has a three-goal lead over Young Boys, and Rangers battled back to draw with Slavia Prague.
After a 1-1 draw away to Sparta Prague, the Rangers are in good shape to progress to the quarter-finals. Rangers were in the hunt for a European title with the draw in Prague, days after securing their first Scottish League title in ten years, thanks to Filip Helander’s close-range finish in the first half.
Nicolae Stanciu had rewarded the hosts for their better start with the opening shot, which fizzed past Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor before the Scotsman even realized it had been struck in the seventh minute. Rangers, on the other side, drew level with the tourists.
Nicolae Stanciu had rewarded the hosts for their better start with the opening shot, which fizzed past Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor before the Scotsman even realized it had been struck in the seventh minute. Rangers drew level against the run of play nine minutes before the break when Helander pounced on a simple chance amid confusion in the Sparta box following Borna Barisic’s free-kick.
As Ondrej Kolar reached out a hand to drive away Ryan Kent’s mishit shot that was looping towards the top corner, he stopped the away side from scoring a second away goal. McGregor, on the other hand, made the save of the game when he miraculously saved and held on to Lukas Masopust’s thumping header that looked bound for the bottom corner.
Ajax thrashed Young Boys 3-0 in Amsterdam, almost ensuring a place in the last eight. Davy Klaassen, Dusan Tadic, and Brian Brobbey scored for the four-time European champions. In the 62nd minute, Klaassen put the Eredivisie leaders ahead with a goal after the ball bobbled to him following a short exchange of passes with Tadic.
With eight minutes remaining, Tadic made Ajax clear favorites to qualify by coolly slotting home the second after another lucky ricochet in the net. After brilliantly collecting Ryan Gravenberch’s fast tuck, Brobbey, 19, tucked home from a close angle in stoppage time of a dominant performance.
Villarreal still has a decent chance of making the quarterfinals after a 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv. Villarreal took a comfortable lead into the second leg in Spain next week after a Pau Torres tap-in on the half-hour mark and a Raul Albiol strike six minutes after the break.