Rangers were unable to extend Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s 100 per cent winning start as they drew 1-1 away to Lyon in the Europa League.
The Gers had won all of their first four matches under the Dutchman, including the 2-0 victory over Sparta Prague that sealed second place in Group A and ultimately rendered Thursday’s trip to France a dead rubber.
For a time, Rangers looked like they might cause a shock as Scott Wright’s deflected strike put them in front, only for a Calvin Bassey own goal to restore parity early in the second period.
Lyon were superior for the remainder of the match but it finished level, with Les Gones already guaranteed a spot in the round of 16 and Rangers set to be pitted against one of the third-placed Champions League sides in the play-off round.
While Lyon initially settled better, the visitors grew into the contest and went close to an opener in the 24th minute as Kemar Roofe’s early effort from out wide caught Julian Pollersbeck off his line but only clipped the outside of the post.
Pollersbeck was not so fortunate just before half-time, however, with Wright seeing his 20-yard effort deflected into the net after brilliant play by Glen Kamara to set the chance up with a cut-back.
Another freak deflection ensured Lyon were level soon after the restart, with Rayan Cherki drilling across goal and Bassey prodding into his own net.
Tinotenda Kadewere and Islam Slimani both spurned reasonable chances for the hosts, who piled the pressure on at the end, but the stalemate was of no concern to either side.
3 – Rangers have scored three own goals in this season’s UEFA Europa League – no side has put through their own net on more occasions in a single UEFA Cup/Europa League campaign. Worrying.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 9, 2021
What does it mean? Positives for Van Bronckhorst
It can be difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from low-stakes contests such as this, but Van Bronckhorst should be happy with Rangers’ first-half display at the least.
Ryan Kent and Kemar Roofe both looked bright and at no point did they look overawed against a decent team.
They took their foot off the gas in the second half, though Rangers still coped fairly well with Lyon.
Picture perfect from Kamara
He may have only played the first half, but Rangers midfielder Kamara was effective during his time on the pitch, playing two key passes and getting the assist for Wright. No other player on the pitch managed to create more chances than him over the course of the full 90 minutes.
Disappointment for Dembele
Former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele will have been eager to impress, for obvious reasons, but it was not his night. He made a mess of an early opportunity and that proved to be his only shot of the game before being withdrawn 14 minutes from time.
Rangers will find out their next Europa League opponents in the play-off draw on Monday – Lyon will not be pulled out of the hat until next February when the draw for the last-16 takes place.
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