Ten-man Rangers were left searching for their first Champions League point after a 3-0 defeat by Napoli at Ibrox, where penalties were the turning point of the game.
Returning goalkeeper Allan McGregor sensationally saved a retaken Piotr Zielinksi spot-kick on the hour after Gers defender James Sands was sent off conceding it, before he was beaten from 12 yards in the 67th minute by Matteo Politano.
Giacomo Raspadori added a second with five minutes remaining and fellow substitute Tanguy Ndombele grabbed a third in added time to compound Gers’ misery
The Light Blues lost 4-0 to Ajax last week after going down by the same score against Celtic at Parkhead in their previous match.
However, they showed the desired spirit and determination against the classy Serie A leaders before coming up short when they went down to 10 men.
Boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst had vowed to stick to his footballing philosophy after two heavy defeats, but he rang the changes from Amsterdam – one enforced as 40-year-old McGregor returned in goal for the injured Jon McLaughlin.
Colombia striker Alfredo Morelos, recently left out of the squad through fitness issues and attitude, made his first start since March, while Ryan Jack, Steven Davis and Scott Arfield came into midfield with John Lundstram dropping back to a five-man defence.
Against UEFA instructions, fans had been invited to sing the national anthem after the minute’s silence to commemorate the death of Queen Elizabeth and they belted it out.
Then came a pulsating first half.
Morelos came close in the first minute with a glancing header from a James Tavernier cross.
Napoli responded quickly and Zielinksi hammered a left-footed shot off the outside of a post from the edge of the box.
In the 12th minute a powerful Arfield drive from 25 yards was beaten away by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret for a corner which came to nothing, before McGregor denied Giovanni Simeone with his leg at the other end.
It was breathless stuff.
With no away fans present due to policing issues following the death of the Queen, the home supporters had the stadium to themselves and were almost off their seats when Morelos, booked earlier by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz for a late challenge on Meret, fired in low from the edge of the box but the keeper gathered confidently.
Napoli, busy and robust, posed a constant threat and Georgia international Khvicha Kvaratskhelia flashed a drive inches wide from the edge of the box just before the interval.
McGregor punched away an angled drive from Kvaratskhelia shortly after the restart and then Politano shot wide from 20 yards.
Then came the madness.
As Simeone raced clean through on goal he was tackled by back-tracking Sands, who had been booked just three minutes earlier for a foul on Politano, with Lundstram also in attendance.
Referee Mateu Laho produced a second yellow and then red to send the USA international packing.
McGregor brilliantly saved Zielinski’s penalty but Politano slammed the rebound through the keeper’s legs.
However, after a lengthy VAR check the penalty had to be retaken for encroachment and McGregor again dived to his right to parry Zielinski’s spot-kick and Ibrox erupted.
However, another Napoli penalty arrived when left-back Borna Barisic was adjudged to have handled a drive from Kvaratskhelia and this time Politano found the bottom corner.
It was then an uphill task for Rangers.
McGregor saved a drive from Zielinski as Napoli took full control but with five minutes remaining Raspadori combined with fellow substitute Mathias Olivera and knocked in a second before Ndombele struck from 14 yards in added time for a third.