JAMES TAVERNIER scored an own goal as Rangers lost 2-0 to Lyon at Ibrox in the opening tie of their Europa League group stage campaign.
Karl Toko Ekambi had opened the scoring in the first half with a sublime finish after a blistering run down the wing.
A calamitous own goal early in the second half left Rangers with a lot to doCredit: AFP
Islam Slimani wheels away celebrating Lyon’s secondCredit: Getty
John Lundstram was handed a rare start by Steven Gerrard who had earlier called this match ‘possibly the biggest challenge’ of his managerial career.
Gerrard was taking charge of the Light Blues for the 50th time in European competition.
Ibrox was raucous but Lyon started the brighter of the two sides and went deservedly ahead after 22 minutes through the tricky Toko Ekambi.
The visitors capitalised on some sloppy play at the centre circle from Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent and released the Cameroonian down the right.
Lundstram came over to occupy him but his attempts to thwart the attack were lacklustre as he backed off the winger and left a gap for him to cut inside.
But in all fairness – the stepover was fantastic and the finish itself was sheer quality, rasping into the bottom corner past Allan McGregor.
Lundstram was then involved in two openings for Rangers at the other end as he went down in the box but saw penalty claims waved away before he dragged a left footed shot wide from the edge of the box following terrific work by Ryan Kent in winning the ball off Lyon in their own half.
The Scouse midfielder stepped inside and fired at goal but Anthony Lopes’ gloves were kept clean.
Moments later Lyon could and should have had a second but Gusto curled his effort wide after being set up by Lucas Paqueta who’d nutmegged Borna Barisic at the by-line.
Lopes was properly tested with five minutes left in the second half and it was Kent again causing problems as he skipped past the on-rushing Lyon defenders and rattled a shot towards the bottom corner only to see the keeper palm it to safety.
Kent then went down in the box as the Ibrox crowd again called for a penalty but once more the referee saw nothing in it.
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Rangers set about finding a way back in the second half but with only eight minutes going the uphill battle became a mountain to climb.
Some terrible – borderline comical, even – defending from the home side ended up with Gers skipper Tavernier diverting the ball into his own goal.
Kent won the ball back on the edge of the area, lost it immediately and Houssem Aouar forced a save from McGregor.
A bit of pinball followed and Islam Slimani had an easy tap-in but somehow it fell to Goldson on the line, who then hit it off Tavernier and into the net.
Lyon perhaps knew at this point that the three points would be theirs barring a monumental effort from the Glasgow side and took off goalscorer Toko Ekambi with 20 minutes left, as ex-Liverpool and Stoke ace Xherdan Shaqiri took his place.
Gerrard had already replaced Steve Davis with winger Scott Wright but was forced into an unwanted change when Kent pulled up injured and was subbed off for Kemar Roofe.
Fashion Sakala was also introduced late on to inject a bit of pace and he did just that when he skipped past Emerson and surged into the box from the right-hand side but the Lyon defence swarmed the six-yard area and denied him any chance of finding Alfredo Morelos who was wanting the cutback