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Sercan strike brings relief for Bursaspor

Bursaspor 1-1 Rangers FC
Sercan Yıldırım struck an equaliser 11 minutes from time as Turkish champions Bursaspor got off the mark in Group at the sixth and final attempt.

Sercan strike brings relief for Bursaspor
Sercan strike brings relief for Bursaspor ©UEFA.com

Sercan Yıldırım ensured that Bursaspor's maiden UEFA Champions League group stage campaign did not end point-less as Rangers FC buckled in the final stages in Turkey.

Kenny Miller had put the visitos ahead on 19 minutes, but the Turkish titleholders provided a more industrious performance after the interval. The 20-year-old Sercan gained reward for the improved showing, firing home with the outside of his right foot after coolly controlling Ozan İpek's ball from the left.

Certain of finishing bottom of the section, Bursaspor's starting XI featured only four of the players that had kicked off their 6-1 Matchday 5 loss at Valencia CF. Rangers – with third and a UEFA Europa League spot in the bag – chose to hand 18-year-old Darren Cole his senior debut at right-back while Kyle Hutton, 19, made his first start in midfield.

All that new blood might explain the unsteady pulse of the action as the fog descended on the Bursa Atatürk Stadium. Steven Naismith almost got his head to an early cross for Rangers, Hüseyin Çimsir crashed a shot into a team-mate for the Crocs, and then Leonel Núñez spun on to a ball from the right touchline, but could not keep his shot down.

So far, so inconclusive, but Rangers then took the lead. Steven Whittaker's cross from the left was hardly to feet, but lone striker Kenny Miller was given sufficient space by his marker to check back and steady himself before arrowing a powerful effort past Yavuz Özkan, given a rare start in goal for Ertuğrul Sağlam's side.

Substitute Pablo Batalla fired wide as Bursaspor picked up the pace after the break, Bekir Ozan Has sent a dipping drive over and Federico Insúa was not too far off with a swinging 75th-minute free-kick. Chances kept coming after Sercan levelled, though the leggy No9 miscued the best of them late on after bursting into the box.