ROYAL Antwerp’s chances of salvaging their Europa League last 32 tie against Rangers have been handed a huge boost by the return of three key players ahead of the second leg at Ibrox on Thursday night.

The Great Old crashed to a 4-3 defeat at the Bosuilstadion in Flanders on Thursday evening and will have to produce an outstanding performance in Glasgow in order to progress to the last 16.

However, Franky Vercauteren welcomed Didier Lamkel Ze and Dieumerci Mbokani, his two main strikers, back to the fray in the Pro League match against St Truiden yesterday afternoon.

Cameroonian internationalist Lamkel Ze, the 6ft 7in target man who had scored five goals in eight matches before yesterday’s 0-0 draw, was suspended for the Rangers match last week as a result of a red card he received back in 2019.

Congolese forward Mbokani, who had been sidelined with a calf injury for a month, came on and played for the final 20 minutes.

Elsewhere, Faris Haroun, the vastly-experienced former Belgium defensive midfielder, was on the bench during the match.

Vercauteren is hopeful the Antwerp captain, who has also not played in over a month because of a calf strain, could make his first team comeback in Govan.

Meanwhile, Alireza Beiranvand, the Iranian keeper who made a series of gaffes in the first leg, lis in danger of missing the rematch after suffering a muscle strain in the first-half.

He was replaced by Ortwin De Wolf, the former Belgium Under-21 goalie, who kept a clean sheet during his time on the park.