10-MAN Rangers secured a victory on the night against Alashkert of Armenia in their quest to qualify for the Europa League.
Reduced in number before the half-time whistle with John Lundstram shown a red card, the Light Blues had to dig deep with Alfredo Morelos popping up once more in European competition to give Gers something to build on in Yerevan next Thursday.
From the team which defeated Dunfermline 5-0 on Friday night, in came Allan McGregor, James Tavernier, Fil Helander, Steven Davis, Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos.
That meant it was a back five of McGregor in goal with Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Helander and Calvin Bassey in front of him.
John Lundstram was in midfield next to Davis and Joe Aribo, while up front, Ianis Hagi joined Kent and Morelos.
Rangers quickly established their dominance in this one, with the game being played almost exclusively in the Alashkert half.
Hagi flashed an early strike wide while Goldson came close to connecting to a Tavernier free-kick inside the area.
Kent then clipped the top of the crossbar from just inside the area after being fed by Hagi, while the Romanian was denied by a fine block from the visitors as he looked to finish a Morelos cutback.
The visitors were remaining firm in their defence, and they received a big boost and Rangers a big blow on the stroke of half-time with the home side reduced to 10 men.
After already being booked, John Lundstram was shown a second yellow card for a block as Alashkert looked to break.
Gers claimed for a penalty soon after as Bassey went down in the area, but the Greek referee wasn’t interested in the claims from the home players and supporters.
The mood was lifted somewhat at the break, with new signing Juninho Bacuna paraded to the supporters as the ink was still drying on his deal.
Scott Wright replaced Kent at the interval, and almost made a massive impact within a minute. Bursting down the right and beating his man, he cut the ball back into the middle where Hagi was inches away from connecting.
Didier Kadio then made a clearance off the line from an acrobatic hooked effort from Morelos, before the Colombian headed a super Hagi cross just wide on the hour mark.
Despite the man disadvantage, it remained a case of Gers being very much on top, and Wright had their latest effort on goal, firing just over from 25-yards.
The goal was certainly coming, and on 68 minutes, it duly arrived with that man Alfredo Morelos streaking even further ahead as the club’s all-time leading European goalscorer.
Alashkert had pushed too far forward, and playing right on the shoulder of the last defender as usual was Morelos. Skipper James Tavernier picked him out with a super, lofted ball, and the Colombian took time to steady himself as he entered the area and he fired under the onrushing goalkeeper.
Ibrox went simply wild, and it was no more than Gerrard’s men deserved for their continued, positive attitude to the match in spite of being a man down.
Goldson could have made it two, but he didn’t connect as he would have liked to a Tavernier corner to the back post.
So something for the Light Blues to build on this time next week, but for now they must focus on the challenge of Ross County in the Scottish Premiership this Sunday afternoon.
RANGERS: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Bassey, Lundstram, Davis, Aribo (Arfield, 80), Hagi (Kelly, 90), Kent (Wright, 45), Morelos (Itten, 83)
SUBS NOT USED: McLaughlin, McCrorie, Simpson, Patterson, Balogun, Barisic.
ALASHKERT: Cancarevic, Cameta, Voskanyan, Kadio, Hovsepyan, Embalo, Grigoryan (Bezecourt, 75), Khurtsidze (Gilsic, 80), Boljevic, Papilkyan (Gome, 8), James (Edigaryan, 75).
SUBS NOT USED: Aghekyan, Tankov.
REFEREE: Anastasios Sidriopoulos
Match report originally posted here.
|19th August 2021||8:00 pm||Europa League||2021/2022|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|