Algeria defender Madjid Bougherra hit a superb second-half equaliser to give Glasgow Rangers a point and seal a 1-1 draw against Stuttgart in the UEFA Champions League Group G match on Wednesday. The 26-year-old struck with less than 15 minutes remaining to give Walter Smith's side a valuable away point.
The home side lost 3-1 at German league leaders Hamburg on Saturday and were without injury victims Ludovic Magnin and Alexander Hleb, but they took an early lead after dominating their Scottish visitors early on. Rangers were without striker Kyle Lafferty who was injured while on international duty with Northern Ireland and defender David Weir also failed to recover from an ankle knock sustained in Saturday's draw with Motherwell.
"In the second half, we threw away the plan and were chasing the game," said a disappointed Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel. "The first half was good and we must go back to that. There we controlled events and worked hard to create chances to score. Unfortunately, we didn't create a second important goal which would have killed the game off. We must control the game better and not just react to events."
The Scots failed to find their form in the game's opening stages and Stuttgart striker Cacau forced Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor into a diving save as early as the sixth minute as the home side kept up the pressure.
The Germans' breakthrough came on 18 minutes when Rangers defender Sasa Papac slipped and Cacau, seizing the opportunity, sprinted at goal and squared the ball for Russian midfielder Pavel Pogrebynak to drill his shot home. The Russian netted again just before the break, but his effort was ruled off-side as Stuttgart held a 1-0 lead going into the break.
With the Scottish giants failing to threaten the home side's goal, it looked as though Stuttgart were cruising to an opening UEFA Champions League win until Rangers equalised with a superb piece of individual skill. Bougherra exchanged passes with midfielder Jerome Rothen outside the penalty area and the Algeria defender burst into the box, held off two defenders and unleashed a fierce drive past Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann on 77 minutes.
In the next round of matches, Stuttgart face Romanian side Unirea Urziceni on Tuesday 29 September while Rangers host Seville at Ibrox the same night.