Rangers shock French champs
McCulloch, Cousin & Beasley on target as Gers thrash Lyon
Last Updated: 03/10/07 7:01am
Rangers: Celebrations all round
Scottish football enjoyed another excellent night on French soil as Rangers stunned Lyon 3-0 in the UEFA Champions League.
The win is Rangers' first in the Champions League away from Ibrox since 2000 against a Lyon side that rarely lose at the Stade Gerland.
Lyon enjoyed the better of the play in the first-half but found themselves behind at the break to Lee McCulloch's headed goal in the 23rd minute.
Juninho was the French champions' biggest threat and he hit the bar just before half-time and then struck the post from distance in the second 45.
Daniel Cousin joined McCulloch in scoring on his Champions League debut when he fired past Remy Vercoutre moments after half-time.
Cousin then turned provider as his long ball over the top picked out the run of DaMarcus Beasley who calmly slotted home Rangers' third.
Walter Smith's side sit joint-top of Group E with Barcelona after wins from their opening two games, but Lyon are rock bottom on zero points.
The French side, who lost their opener against Barca 3-0, are already close to elimination after just two games.
It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for the Light Blues for most of the game but they coped very comfortably, with Lyon dominating possession but lacking creativity.
Juninho led a one-man crusade on the Rangers goal, especially in the opening 45 minutes when his free-kicks inched closer and closer to the target, but goalkeeper Allan McGregor was rarely worried.
The Brazilian was ubiquitous early on, and his third-minute piledriver was blocked by Rangers anchorman Brahim Hemdani.
Former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Milan Baros had a shot blocked before Cousin - isolated in his lone striker's role - had a left-foot effort in the 13th minute repelled.
It was against the run of play that Rangers notched their first goal.
Right-back Alan Hutton forced a corner out of Kim Kallstrom and from the resulting set-piece taken by Beasley, McCulloch found space to powerfully head home from near the penalty spot.
The goal stunned the majority of the crowd and Juninho took it upon himself to find the equaliser.
His first free-kick of the night went narrowly over, and his next moments later was palmed out by McGregor - with Sebastien Squillaci prodding the rebound weakly wide.
The dead-ball doyen came closer on the stroke of half-time, his curling free-kick from 20 yards hitting the bar and rebounding out.
Rangers breathed again, but were celebrating going 2-0 ahead three minutes after the restart.
Cousin, signed from Lyon's Ligue 1 rivals Lens in the summer, received the ball just inside the area to the right of goal, turned his marker and crashed a powerful effort in at Remy Vercoutre's near post from 10 yards.
The army of Rangers fans, who made up a significant portion of the 38,076 crowd, were jubilant - and they had further reason to cheer two minutes later.
Cousin, with a superb 40-yard ball, found Beasley charging through the middle in space - and the American controlled before calmly finishing to the left of Vercoutre.
Rangers were non-existent as an attacking force after their third goal, Cousin coming off just after the hour mark to be replaced by Steven Whittaker.
On the 70-minute mark, Juninho hit the woodwork for a second time - crashing a low, left-foot effort against McGregor's post, while Kallstrom and Sidney Govou flashed shots wide.
A miserable night for the hosts was completed in the 84th minute when Anderson headed against the woodwork - the third time Lyon had done so in the game - signifying it was definitely not their night.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||3|
|20||Shots off Target||1|