Gers Defeat Lyon In France

RANGERS earned a very professional 2-0 victory against Champions League outfit Lyon in game one of Trophee Veolia this evening.

An own-goal and a Ianis Hagi strike saw Gers 2-0 up, and despite losing Ryan Kent to a red card just before the break, Gers kept their shape and their discipline throughout.

The early stages belonged to the home side as they sprayed the ball about superbly on the terrific surface here on the banks of the Rhone.

For all their possession, however, they failed to test Jon McLaughlin in goal for Gers – their best efforts being a shot into the side netting from Karl Toko Ekambi and an effort over the top from the edge of the area from Rayan Cherki.

The defensive shape from Steven Gerrard’s men was excellent, and that gave them the platform to start to play out, and by the time the clock ticked over to the 15-minute mark, it was they who were in control of the game.

Their forward play forced a succession of corners, and from the third of them, Rangers took a super lead thanks to some magic from Ryan Kent.

James Tavernier took a short corner to the winger, but rather than whip the ball in, Kent backed himself to take on full-back Melvin Bard.

He danced round him wonderfully, and played a great ball to the front post for Ianis Hagi, but before the Romanian could get a touch, the ball was diverted beyond his own keeper by Marcelo to give Gers something to hold onto.

But rather than simply try to hold their lead, they continued to dominate possession, playing some super football and looking a threat every time they poured forward.

And their play soon earned them a second goal. A charge forward was led by Joe Aribo from central midfield, and he sprayed the ball left for Borna Barisic.

From an advanced position, he spotted the incoming Hagi, and while his shot came off the legs of the unfortunate Marcelo, it looked goalbound in any case as the ball went by his compatriot goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and into the far right corner of the net.

It was brilliant from Gerrard’s men, and they continued to keep this multi-talented Lyon side at arms-length pretty much, with a Jean Lucas Oliveira header from a Bard cross going well over McLaughlin’s bar.

Six minutes before half-time, however, Rangers were dealt a blow with Ryan Kent red carded for reacting to a late challenge on him from Marcelo.

It looked a harsh decision from the referee – particularly with the game being a friendly – but it meant Gers would have to see the game out with 10 men.

Half-time saw Gerrard making two alterations – two goal hero Hagi being replaced by Scott Arfield, while Glen Kamara came on for Ryan Jack.

Despite their man disadvantage, Gers began the second half the better of the two sides, keeping the ball exceptionally well and again looking a threat down the wide areas through either Tavernier or Barisic.

Minute 58 saw Gerrard then make four changes with Alfredo Morelos, Steven Davis, Joe Aribo and Borna Barisic all coming off for Jordan Jones, Brandon Barker, Ross McCrorie and Calvin Bassey.

And one of those replacements - Ross McCrorie - was desperately unlucky not to make it three just by the hour mark.

With Lyon pushed forward, Glen Kamara did superbly to release Brandon Barker down the left, and he lit the afterburners to get ahead of Kenny Tete. After getting into the box, he checked back to beat Tete and played the ball to McCrorie who was denied a certain goal by an outstanding Youssouf Kone block.

Soon after, Barker then popped up down the right, doing wonderfully to this time skin Jason Denayer and cross for Jordan Jones, but he shot just wide of the target.

Gerrard’s final three changes of the evening saw Greg Docherty come on for George Edmundson and Academy products Lewis Mayo and Nathan Patterson replacing Connor Goldson and James Tavernier.

That meant Gers finished the game against a top-quality and expensively assembled Lyon attack with 18 year-old Patterson, 22 year-old McCrorie, 20 year-old Mayo and 20 year-old Bassey as the back four, the first three, of course, having come through Gers’ Academy.

They, along with goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, performed well in the closing stages, particularly when Brandon Barker was forced off with a knock meaning Gers saw the game out with nine men.

It’s another test to come now for Gers on Saturday evening as they face Nice back here at the Groupama Stadium. RANGERS: McLaughlin; Tavernier (Patterson, 77), Goldson (Mayo, 77), Edmunson (Docherty, 69), Barisic (Bassey, 58); Aribo, Davis, Jack (Kamara, 45); Kent, Morelos, Hagi (Arfield, 45). SUBS NOT USED: Firth, Defoe, Murphy, Stewart, Barjonas, Middleton.