RANGERS under-20s came from two goals down with 18 minutes left on the clock to incredibly defeat Rapid 4-2 in a quite wonderful game this afternoon.
Played in the shadow of the Allianz Stadion, where the first teams of both clubs will do battle in the Europa League this evening, Gers found themselves two-down at half time, but battled back with two-goals apiece for Andy Dallas and Josh McPake.
It was Gers who began the match the brighter, and on both wings, they carried a real threat. Cammy Palmer and Dapo Mebude sent crosses into the area which were crying out for that final touch early-on, but to no avail.
Harris O’Connor at full-back enjoying a strong start, and a controlled header from him as he pushed into midfield gave Andy Dallas the chance to power in-behind the Rapid defence, but goalkeeper Nikolas Polster read the danger well and was quick off his line to deny the striker.
Dapo Mebude then spun his marker wonderfully on the edge of the area after working his way forward, but again Polster was there to deny Gers, albeit at the second attempt after fumbling his first save.
Indeed, 35 minutes were showing on the clock before Rapid finally tested Aidan McAdams in goal, with Nemanja Tomasevic bringing out a decent stop from the keeper.
Three minutes later, and Rapid took the lead as Gers were caught on the counter and Kyle McLelland was unfortunate to turn a cross into his own net.
It was against the run of play, and things got worse right on the stroke of half time with Liam Burt conceding a penalty and Melih Ibrahimuglu making no mistake from the spot.
Graeme Murty had a job to do with his squad at the interval, and that he did, as to a man, Rangers were simply fabulous in the second half.
Time and again they attacked down both wings, with Rapid really at sixes and sevens to deny Dallas on three or four occasions.
The goalkeeper also made wonderful saves from Jordan Rossiter who let fly from the edge of the box, and then Stevie Kelly and Dallas as they tried to force home the loose ball.
It seemed only a matter of time before the door was prised open, and finally, on 72 minutes, the goal arrived.
A wonderful flowing move from Murty’s men was ended with Dallas pulling wide to the right and cutting a ball back for substitute Josh McPake to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.
Seven minutes later, and Gers were level, with Dallas this time being the man to add the finish touch. A long ball from McAdams looked to be cleared by the Rapid defence, but Dallas showed wonderful strength to win it, take it in his stride, charge forward and then lob the keeper as he went to ground.
This was truly wonderful stuff from Rangers, and it got even better with four minutes left on the clock.
A sensational, crunching tackle from Cammy Palmer in midfield saw him come away with the ball and spray it left for Rossiter. He looked up and spotted the near-post run of Dallas who added the finish to turn the game on its head.
Rapid pushed for a leveller in what remained of the match, but it was Gers who got the sixth and final goal of this amazing clash – and what a goal it was.
After dealing with a set-piece, Palmer released McPake midway inside his own half. Still with a Rapid defender to beat, he skinned him on halfway, continued to charge forward and rounded the onrushing goalkeeper to complete a memorable afternoon for this young Gers team.
RANGERS: McAdams; O’Connor, Finlayson, McClelland, Patterson; Palmer, Kelly (Trialist,66), Rossiter; Mebude (McPake, 45), Dallas, Burt.
SUBS NOT USED: Kinnear, Kennedy, Williamson.