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Rangers vs Lech Poznan. Europa League Group D.

Ibrox StadiumAttendance11.

Rangers 1

  • A Morelos (68th minute)

Lech Poznan 0

    Rangers 1-0 Lech Poznan: Alfredo Morelos header sees off Poles in Europa League

    Rangers level on points with Benfica at top of Europa League Group D after back-to-back wins; Morelos' header midway through second half at Ibrox sees him equal European goal record for Glasgow giants

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 29: Alfredo Morelos of Rangers celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Group D stage match between Rangers and Lech Poznan at Ibrox Stadium on October 29, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland.
    Image: Alfredo Morelos celebrates his record-breaking goal

    Alfredo Morelos came off the bench to score the winner as Rangers beat Lech Poznan 1-0 to maintain their 100 per cent record in the Europa League group stage.

    The Colombia international forward was in the right place at the right time to power a close-range header into the back of the net for his 21st European goal for Rangers, drawing him level with Ally McCoist.

    Despite a disjointed display on the night, Steven Gerrard's side held on to record a second straight win in Group D to leave them level on six points at the top of the table with Benfica, who they face next in back-to-back games, starting in Lisbon next Thursday.

    Player ratings

    Rangers: McGregor (6), Tavernier, (6), Goldson (6), Balogun (6), Barisic (8), Davis (7), Kamara (7), Arfield (7), Hagi (5), Kent (7), Roofe (6)

    Subs: Jack (6), Aribo (6), Morelos (8), Barker (6)

    Lech Poznan: Bednarek (6), Czerwinski (7), Satka (6), Rogne (6), Kravets (6), Skoras (6), Moder (7), Marchwinski (6), Puchacz (6), Ramirez (7), Ishak (6)

    Subs: Sykora (6), Katcharava (6), Awad (6)

    Man of the match: Borna Barisic

    How Rangers made it back-to-back wins in Group D

    Morelos scored his first goal in seven games as Rangers made it two wins from two matches in the Europa League group stage.

    Morelos hadn't scored since mid-September, and was an unused substitute at the weekend, but netted a header from Borna Barisic's superb cross within six minutes of his introduction as a substitute.

    On a wet night in Glasgow, Lech Poznan were stuffy opponents who for long periods contained Rangers and the threat of their fullbacks, but one moment of quality from Barisic was enough to secure the win.

    Rangers v Lech Poznan - UEFA Europa League - Group D - Ibrox Stadium
Rangers' Alfredo Morelos (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with teammate Connor Goldson during the UEFA Europa League match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. 29 October 2020
    Image: Alfredo Morelos is congratulated after opening the scoring at Ibrox

    Gerrard pumped his fist in delight at full-time as the three points were confirmed. Regardless of the quality of performance, his team are now unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions, in which they have kept 14 clean sheets.

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    Rangers now face a double-header against Benfica with the first of those games in Portugal next Thursday. Before then, they travel to Kilmarnock looking to extend their lead over Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

    Lech Poznan, captained by former Celtic defender Thomas Rogne, had lost to Benfica in their opening group game last week and started cautiously at Ibrox, giving up plenty of possession, but Rangers were unable to create many opportunities in the opening 20 minutes.

    Rangers v Lech Poznan - UEFA Europa League - Group D - Ibrox Stadium
Rangers' Ianis Hagi (left) rues a missed chance during the UEFA Europa League match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. 29 October 2020
    Image: Ianis Hagi after missing a chance at Ibrox

    Kemar Roofe, starting ahead of Morelos after an incredible goal from inside his own half in Belgium last week, had a double chance from Barisic's cross, but he fluffed his header and then failed to connect properly on the acrobatic follow-up.

    The lack of energy to the game suited the visitors, who were comfortable in their defensive structure. Only when Steven Davis found space on the edge of the area did Rangers threaten; his initial volley was blocked, and his second attempt was harmlessly over the bar.

    Allan McGregor had very little to do in the Rangers goal, but he was left exposed just before half-time as Lech Poznan broke following Roofe's loose ball - but Mikael Ishak could not keep his shot down on the angle.

    Poznan started the second half brightly, as Alan Czerwinski powered down the right flank with Barisic caught upfield, but his cross was just out of reach of the sliding Michal Skoras. Rogne then glanced a flashing header from Dani Ramirez's cross that went just wide of the far post.

    Rangers were struggling to open up the Polish defence; at times, it appeared they wanted to take one extra pass rather than test Filip Bednarek in the Poznan goal. Scott Arfield eventually took the bait and had a go, but his shot skidded off the wet turf and a yard wide.

    Team news

    Rangers manager Steven Gerrard made four changes from the side that beat Livingston 2-0 at home in the league on Sunday, with Kemar Roofe handed a start in attack. Left-back Borna Barisic returned having been forced off with injury in Liege last week, while both Leon Balogun and Scott Arfield were recalled after missing out on the weekend.

    Lech Poznan were without Pedro Tiba, with the striker having not recovered from the thigh strain that kept him out of their last league outing.

    Gerrard had seen enough, and sent on Morelos for Roofe on the hour mark. Within seven minutes, the Colombian put Rangers in the lead.

    Barisic received the ball on the left, and produced a vicious cross that was expertly headed home by Morelos inside the six-yard box. It was the striker's 21st goal for Rangers in 36 European games, drawing him level with McCoist as the club's highest scorer in Europe.

    Morelos nearly surpassed McCoist with a drive that Bednarek got down well to save at his near post. Poznan realised they needed to shake themselves from their stupor; Jakub Moder peeled off at the back post only to fire his shot too high, and Rangers saw the game out comfortably as the Poles quickly ran out of ideas.

    Match stats

    • Including qualifying rounds, Rangers have lost just one of their last 20 home games in European competitions (W14 D5).
    • Rangers have won their last five matches in European competition, netting 14 goals and conceding just once.
    • Lech Poznan have won just one of their last nine UEFA Europa League matches (D2 L6), winning 2-1 at Fiorentina in October 2015.
    • Rangers have won each of their last four matches against Polish opposition in major European competition (excluding qualifiers).
    • Alfredo Morelos has scored more UEFA Cup/Europa League goals than any other Rangers player, scoring his ninth goal in his 16th appearance for the club.

    What the manager said...

    Rangers manager Steven Gerrard greets Alfredo Morelos 0:29
    Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says Alfredo Morelos 'deserves' to equal Ally McCoist's European scoring record for Rangers

    Steven Gerrard: "It's fantastic for him from a personal point of view. He deserves it, he has scored some real big important goals in Europe for us. So I'm very pleased for Alfredo.

    "Ally's a legend of the club, he has been here and done it, got the T-shirt. The challenge for Alfredo is: can he build on all his goals and help his team to become successful come the end of the season?

    "Listen, Alfredo hasn't been dropped. For me it was trying to take him out to freshen him up and try to get that spark he has maybe been missing in the last couple of appearances.

    "He has played a lot of of football, come back from Colombia with a bit of jet lag. So I think it was needed.

    "We also needed to get Kemar moving and get a good 60 (minutes) into his legs. So it's positives all round in the forward positions.

    "Hopefully that will be the catalyst for Alfredo to go on and score some more goals for us."

    Man of the Match - Borna Barisic

    The left back made his return to action after being forced off with injury in last week's win at Standard Liege and boy were Rangers happy to see him back.

    The Croatia international was the home team's only bright spot in a lethargic first half, whipping in a number of inviting centres which his team-mates failed to take advantage of.

    However, that was all forgotten when from yet another devilish cross from the left touchline, there was Morelos to accept the present to score the winning goal.

    What's next?

    Rangers face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at noon, in a match you can see live on Sky Sports Football.

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    Meanwhile, Lech Poznan travel to Znicz Pruszkow in the Polish Cup on Monday night.

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