Rangers failed to make its dominance count in a frustrating 0-0 stalemate with Spartak Moscow in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Scottish side was on top from start to finish at Ibrox but ultimately had to settle for a draw that allows Villarreal, who romped to a comfortable 5-0 win over Rapid Vienna, to join it on five points.
The result, while perhaps not enough to satisfy Steven Gerrard, did continue the manager's unbeaten record in Europe while stretching his side's undefeated streak to four matches in all competitions.
Spartak's early intentions were clear during a first half in which they failed to attempt a single shot, instead sinking into a deep defensive shape from the outset.
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Rangers, though rich with the confidence of a team that had scored 10 goals in its three previous outings, struggled to find a way through the blockade.
Daniel Candeias wasted the only real clear sight of goal in the opening 45 minutes when he overhit a squared pass that should have resulted in a simple tap-in for the unmarked Lassana Coulibaly.
The visitor was more enterprising after the interval with substitute Sofiane Hanni injecting impetus, though it was relieved to see Alfredo Morelos fire across the face of goal in the 68th minute.
Gerrard appeared justified in protesting the referee's decision not to award a penalty for a challenge on Eros Grezda, who carelessly squandered the final chance of the contest when he blazed over deep into stoppage time.
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