Lyon 1-1 Rangers: Van Bronckhorst happy with ‘brave’ visitors as they take new style on board

Scott Wright goal v Lyon
Scott Wright’s deflected strike gave Rangers a deserved first-half advantage

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is satisfied with how his “brave” Rangers side are picking up his style of play after they earned a creditable Europa League draw in France against Lyon.

Scott Wright’s deflected strike was cancelled out by Calvin Bassey’s own goal, but the visitors dug in to ensure the new boss’ unbeaten start continued.

The Ibrox side excelled in large spells against the runaway Group A winners.

“I’m very happy with the message we showed,” Van Bronckhorst said.

“It’s only my fifth game in charge; I’m happy they’re picking up my style of play. We played our possession game from the back and many times we had the right solutions.”

Rangers had already secured the runners-up spot in the section ahead of Sparta Prague and will meet one of eight Champions League dropouts in the play-off round next.

The Ibrox club will find out their opponents in Monday’s draw, with the winners of the two-legged affair progressing to the last-16 stage.

Rangers last trip to Lyon in 2007 saw Walter Smith’s men shock their star-studded hosts 3-0 in the group stage of the Champions League.

Over 14 years on, Peter Bosz’s current team boasts its share of talent and even though the result would not have any bearing on both sides’ positions the group, the game provided the toughest assignment of Van Bronckhorst’s nascent tenure.

The Dutchman’s players made a bright start but Lyon also showed their threat when former Celtic striker Moussa Dembele scuffed a lofted effort after a fine clipped pass from Xherdan Shaqiri.

But Rangers also flexed their muscles in attack. Ryan Kent beat his man with a lovely nutmeg before sliding in Kemar Roofe, who tried to catch out Julian Pollersbeck with a snap shot that clipped the outside of the near post.

Rangers were the dominant force as the first half progressed, Ianis Hagi dragging an ambitious shot wide before Borna Barisic having an effort from the edge of the area go straight down the throat of the home goalkeeper.

Possible Rangers play-off opponents
Rangers will be drawn against one of the eight Champions League dropouts in the Europa League play-off round

The goal they deserved came, however, as Kent’s delightful dink found Glen Kamara on the bye-line. The Finland midfielder then dragged a pass back to Wright, whose strike took a nick and left Pollersbeck flat-footed.

Lyon ramped it up after the interval and equalised three minutes into the second half when impressive teenager Rayan Cherki’s cross deflected in off Bassey.

The Rangers backline continued to be pressured as Tino Kadewere struck narrowly wide and Leo Dubois forced Jon McLaughlin to claw over.

The resulting corner saw young defender Castello Lukeba glance a header just past, while fellow centre-back Damien da Silva had his own headed effort take a nick and drift just shy of goal.

Rangers had half chances on the break through Nathan Patterson and Joe Aribo, but the second half was about their defence standing firm, and they were called into action again when Islam Slimani forced McLaughlin into a smart late save.

Man of the match – Ryan Kent

Ryan Kent v Lyon
The Rangers winger’s (left) scintillating first-half showing earns him the award

What did they say?

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst: “We’re very happy with the performance, especially away from home in Europe. It can be really tough.

“We were very brave. In the second half we didn’t create too many chances, but overall I’m really happy with the performance.”

What did we learn?

Van Bronckhorst will have learned a lot about his fringe players against tough opposition.

Scotland right-back Patterson had a couple of nervy moments early in the game, but eye-catching runs forward and an improved defensive showing in the second half gives the Ibrox boss something to think about.

It is now five games unbeaten for the Dutch manager and centre-back pairing Connor Goldson and Bassey have started in every one of those, picking up three clean sheets along the way.

After another impressive display, the pair could be vital for Van Bronckhorst going forward.

Match stats

  • Rangers have progressed past the group stages of the Europa League in three of the four seasons they’ve been in the competition from the beginning (2019-20, 2020-21 & 2021-22), only failing to make it out of the groups in 2018-19.
  • Lyon are unbeaten in 11 home matches in Europe (W4 D7). It’s their longest unbeaten home run since an 18-game stretch in the Champions League between September 2003 and December 2006 (W12 D6).
  • Rangers are winless in six away games in Europe (D4 L2), with only 10 goals being scored in total across those matches. They last went on a longer winless run between May 2008 and July 2018 (14 games).
  • Wright’s opener was his first goal in Europe for Rangers (5th app) and their first goal from outside the box in the competition this term.
  • Rangers have scored three own goals in this season’s Europa League – no side has put through their own net on more occasions in a single UEFA Cup/Europa League campaign.

What’s next?

Rangers return to Scottish Premiership action on Sunday (12:00 GMT) as they travel to Tynecastle to play Hearts.

Player of the match

PattersonNathan Patterson

Lyon

  1. Squad number9Player nameDembele

  2. Squad number21Player nameDa Silva

  3. Squad number18Player nameCherki

  4. Squad number52Player nameVogel

  5. Squad number30Player namePollersbeck

  6. Squad number29Player nameShaqiri

  7. Squad number12Player nameHenrique

  8. Squad number7Player nameToko Ekambi

  9. Squad number19Player nameKeita

  10. Squad number4Player nameLukeba

  11. Squad number20Player nameSlimani

  12. Squad number11Player nameKadewere

  13. Squad number25Player nameCaqueret

  14. Squad number14Player nameDubois

  15. Squad number8Player nameAouar

  16. Squad number39Player nameBruno Guimarães

Rangers

  1. Squad number16Player namePatterson

  2. Squad number33Player nameMcLaughlin

  3. Squad number23Player nameWright

  4. Squad number14Player nameKent

  5. Squad number3Player nameBassey

  6. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  7. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  8. Squad number17Player nameAribo

  9. Squad number10Player nameDavis

  10. Squad number18Player nameKamara

  11. Squad number25Player nameRoofe

  12. Squad number4Player nameLundstram

  13. Squad number7Player nameHagi

  14. Squad number22Player nameBacuna

  15. Squad number37Player nameArfield

Line-ups

Lyon

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 30Pollersbeck
  • 52VogelSubstituted forDuboisat 62′minutes
  • 21Da Silva
  • 4Lukeba
  • 12Silva Milagres
  • 19Keita
  • 25CaqueretSubstituted forGuimarães Rodriguez Mouraat 76′minutes
  • 18Cherki
  • 29ShaqiriSubstituted forAouarat 62′minutes
  • 7Toko EkambiSubstituted forKadewereat 44′minutes
  • 9DembeleSubstituted forSlimaniat 76′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Lopes
  • 3Emerson
  • 8Aouar
  • 11Kadewere
  • 14Dubois
  • 17Gusto
  • 20Slimani
  • 23Mendes Ribeiro
  • 27Boateng
  • 39Guimarães Rodriguez Moura
  • 40Bonnevie
  • 45Barcola

Rangers

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33McLaughlin
  • 16PattersonBooked at 74mins
  • 6Goldson
  • 3Bassey
  • 31Barisic
  • 4Lundstram
  • 18KamaraSubstituted forDavisat 45′minutes
  • 23WrightSubstituted forArfieldat 61′minutes
  • 7HagiSubstituted forBacunaat 61′minutes
  • 14Kent
  • 25RoofeSubstituted forAriboat 73′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 10Davis
  • 17Aribo
  • 22Bacuna
  • 27Kelly
  • 28McCrorie
  • 37Arfield

Referee:
Radu Marian Petrescu

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