Scott Wright goal helps Rangers secure draw against Lyon

Rangers concluded their Europa League Group A campaign with a creditable 1-1 draw against section winners Lyon in France.

By Sports Desk
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 8:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 8:10 pm

The Ibrox club had already qualified for the knockout play-offs ahead of the final fixture and they were boosted further when attacker Scott Wright’s deflected shot four minutes before the interval gave the Light Blues the lead.

Gers defender Calvin Bassey inadvertently turned a shot from 18-year-old Rayan Cherki into his own goal three minutes after the restart but there were no more goals in a mostly low-key second half.

Gers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst had won four out of four since taking over from Steven Gerrard, but he will not be too concerned about the draw as he enjoyed another look at what he has at his disposal against a side who had won five out of five in the group, including a 2-0 win in Govan.

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Scott Wright (3rdL) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the Europa League football match at Olympique Lyonnais

Rangers can look forward to the play-off draw on December 13 where they could face RB Leipzig, Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Sheriff Tiraspol, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Barcelona, Sevilla and Atalanta.

For now, the Scottish champions turn their attention back to domestic fare and a crucial game against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Van Bronckhorst, up against long-time friend and fellow Dutchman Peter Bosz in the Lyon dugout, made six changes from Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Dundee and in came Jon McLaughlin, Nathan Patterson, John Lundstram, Wright, Kemar Roofe and Ryan Kent.

Lyon, captained by former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele with ex-Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri in support, showed nine changes from the weekend’s game against Bordeaux.

Attacker Karl Toko Ekambi tested McLaughlin with a low drive in the ninth minute before Dembele had a terrific opportunity when he was sent clean through by Shaqiri.

However, with only McLaughlin to beat he failed to connect with his shot properly and the grateful Gers keeper gathered.

The visitors threatened in the 24th minute when Kent found Roofe in space but his curling shot from distance clipped the outside of the post.

Rangers were growing into the game and in the 37th minute left-back Borna Barisic’s shot from distance was saved by Julian Pollersbeck but the Lyon keeper was beaten four minutes later.

Kent and Glen Kamara combined down the left and when the latter cut the ball back to the edge of the box from the bye line, Wright’s low drive took a marked deflection off defender Damien Da Silva to wrong-foot Pollersbeck.

Veteran midfielder Steve Davis replaced Kamara for the start of the second half but he was still bedding in when Cherki worked his way down the right before his shot across goal was deflected into his own net by Bassey.

Lyon had the upper hand with Rangers working hard to contain them, but in the 64th minute substitute Tino Kadewere came close with a shot from the edge of the box before 18-year-old defender Castello Lukeba knocked a corner past the post with his shoulder from six yards when he ought to have hit the target.

Rangers then got away with poor marking at two corner kicks and McLaughlin saved from substitute Islam Slimani in the final minute, making an even better block in the final minute of three added on from Kadewere, seconds after Gers substitute Joe Aribo almost got through at the other end.