Away draws for Rangers and Ajax
LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) Striker Kris Boyd today scored a late equaliser to give Rangers a 2-2 draw at AJ Auxerre that secured their place in the knockout phase of the UEFA Cup.
Ten-man Ajax Amsterdam, who had defender Urby Emanuelson sent off in the 39th minute, held Sparta Prague 0-0 in the Czech Republic to remain second in Group F at least until the later match between Espanyol and leaders Zulte Waregem of Belgium.
Another Czech side, Slovan Liberec crushed Grasshoppers 4-1 at home to climb to second in Group C before holders Sevilla's home game with Portugal's Braga in a later kickoff.
In Group G, Rapid Bucharest were held 1-1, their third draw in three games, at home by Czechs Mlada Boleslav.
Fenerbahce picked up their first points with a 3-0 home victory over Palermo to retain their hopes of going through from Group H.
Unbeaten Rangers, who have taken seven points from three games, stayed top of Group A, one point ahead of Maccabi Haifa, who beat Partizan Belgrade 1-0 at home.
Livorno of Italy, Partizan and Auxerre all have one point from two games and Rangers cannot finish lower than third even if they lose their last match at home to Partizan on December 14.
''I feel there is a real spirit in the team... We responded well, never gave up,'' Rangers' French coach Paul Le Guen told BBC Scotland television after Rangers twice came from behind.
Polish striker Ireneusz Jelen put Auxerre in front just past the half hour when he ran onto a long ball out of defence, shook off two defenders inside the box and steered it past keeper Allan McGregor.
Nacho Novo prodded home a 62nd-minute equaliser for the Glasgow side but Romanian substitute Daniel Niculae restored Auxerre's lead with a diving header from Jelen's cross 15 minutes from time.
Rangers, however, salvaged a point with Boyd's 84th-minute equaliser from Charlie Adam's pass.
Reuters SBA VP0307