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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 21:37 GMT
Rangers 0-3 Lyon
By Colin Moffat

Sidney Govou celebrates the opening goal at Ibrox
Sidney Govou celebrates the opening goal at Ibrox
Rangers crashed out of the Champions League and into the Uefa Cup with a disappointing home defeat to Lyon.

The visitors went ahead on 16 minutes when Sidney Govou was on hand to clip home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Steven Whittaker made a clearance to deny Karim Benzema just seconds before Rangers' Jean-Claude Darcheville blazed over an unguarded net from five yards.

Benzema punished that miss with two strikes in the closing stages before Darcheville was sent off for a stamp.

Walter Smith's side have the consolation of Uefa Cup football next year but the Ibrox side will be upset not to have progressed after amassing seven points from their first three matches in Group E.

Lyon knew only a victory would do and coach Alain Perrin went with three attackers in Govou, Hatem Ben Arfa and teenager star Benzema.

And their attacking intent was clear when Govou scorned a wonderful opportunity to opening the scoring after just four minutes.

Juninho split the home defence with a smart pass but his team-mate could only side-foot into the side-netting after cutting in from the left flank.

Allan McGregor clawed away an awkward dipping free-kick from Juninho and there was a further scare for home fans when Alan Hutton's clearance cannoned off Carlos Cuellar and flew narrowly wide of his own goal.

However, the early Lyon pressure paid off when Benzema stole in behind the Rangers rearguard and McGregor could only palm his low cross into the path of Govou, who slammed the ball into the net.

Rangers striker Daniel Cousin had a quiet first half
Rangers struggled to create many scoring chances

Rangers responded with venomous long-range strikes from Whittaker and Sasa Papac but both efforts flew straight at keeper Remy Vercoutre.

The home side forced their way back into the game but, for all their determination and graft, were unable to trouble Vercoutre again in the first half.

Rangers were almost gifted a goal at the start of the second period when Vercoutre flapped at a stray cross from Hutton and Sebastien Squillaci had to head clear from under the crossbar.

The ball fell to Whittaker but the midfielder skewed his shot wide from 10 yards.

On 57 minutes, McGregor could only stand and watch as a delicious 30-yard free-kick from Juninho clattered off his crossbar.

The Brazilian playmaker was claiming a penalty ten minutes later when Hutton upended him but referee Lubos Michel generously waved play on.

Rangers were struggling to make any headway but Vercoutre continued to look very nervous, punching unconvincingly at a long rage effort from Lee McCulloch.

Then came an incredible sequence of action, with both sides missing golden opportunities to score.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Benzema looked certain to net when he rounded McGregor but, with the goal at his mercy, shot straight at the covering Whittaker and the keeper recovered to block the follow-up effort.

Rangers charged straight up the park and Barry Ferguson slid the ball into the six yard box, only for Darcheville to somehow divert it on to the crossbar and over with his shin.

The Ibrox crowd were further stunned when an error from Cuellar allowed Benzema room to fire a shot between the legs of McGregor.

And the impressive striker doubled his tally soon after with a marvellous arrowing shot, low into the corner from 30 yards out.

A miserable night for the home team got worse when Darcheville saw red for reacting angrily to a tackle and stamping on an opponent.


Rangers: McGregor, Hutton, Cuellar, Weir, Papac (Darcheville 71), Hemdani (Boyd 84), Thomson, Whittaker, Ferguson, McCulloch, Cousin (Naismith 46). Subs Not Used: Carroll, Adam, Broadfoot, Faye.

Sent Off: Darcheville (90).

Booked: Thomson, Hutton, Cuellar.

Lyon: Vercoutre, Clerc, Squillaci, Anderson, Grosso, Juninho (Baros 85), Toulalan, Kallstrom, Govou (Reveillere 77), Benzema, Ben Arfa (Bodmer 67). Subs Not Used: Roux, Remy, Belhadj, Keita.

Booked: Govou, Juninho.

Goals: Govou 16, Benzema 85, 88.

Att: 50,062

Ref: Lubos Michel (Slovakia).



SEE ALSO
Smith laments off night at Ibrox
12 Dec 07 |  Rangers
Wednesday's football photos
12 Dec 07 |  Europe


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