Rangers suffered their first defeat in Europe this season as two mistakes from James Tavernier cost the Gers after going 1-o up through Alfredo Morelos and opened the group wide after Feyenoord beat Porto in the other game in the section.
The Gers made two changes from the weekend thrashing of Aberdeen at Ibrox as Gerrard’s side looked to pick up their first competitive win away to Swiss opposition – hours after Graeme Murty’s side drew 3-3 in the UEFA Youth League after a last-minute equaliser.
Both sides looked to get forward early on and the game surged from end-to-end with little respite in the opening 15 minutes but both defences were generally alive to the threat although Connor Goldson and Filip Helander were being made to work for their wages.
The hosts really should have opened the scoring when the ball fell to Jean-Pierre Nsame just a few yards out but he somehow fired wide of Allan McGregor’s left-hand post.
Sheyi Ojo left everyone baffled with his decision-making when Ryan Jack did brilliantly to press and win the ball back, feeding Ojo on the edge of the box, and the on-loan Liverpool man decided to give the ball straight back to Jack rather than turn and pick out one of several others in a better position.
There was neither side particularly controlling the game with individual mistakes and poor-passing continually turning over possession to the other side and stopping either from really getting a grip on things.
Alfredo Morelos then got a little bit of luck when the Young Boys defence totally misjudged a pass from Borna Barisic, allowing the recently recalled Colombian international to get in behind the back four but his shot was nowhere near good enough.
With both sides struggling to complete even the most simple of passes, the game burst into life just before half-time as Morelos rag-dolled a defender before firing home to send the small band of Rangers fans wild.
Morelos with the eyes 👀
Rangers go from front-to-back in no time and Alfredo Morelos does what he does best! pic.twitter.com/FrcKMNcpsz
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 3, 2019
Ojo had a chance to make it 2-0 just before ref brought the opening 45 to a close but dragged his shot wide of the far post before the official brought a turgid 45 minutes to an end.
Just like this afternoon’s Youth League clash, the Gers conceded just a few minutes after the break as the Light Blues defence was all over the place, allowing Assalé to tap home.
The Gers had a really good shout for a penalty when Morelos was tripped in the penalty area as he got on the end of Barisic’s cross but the referee waved play on.
With an hour on the clock, there was an injury blow for the Gers as Ryan Jack was forced to limp off and be replaced by Greg Stewart.
Both sides seemed to have upped the quality a little but still, the final ball on either side lacked any real cutting edge as both teams struggled to firmly take control of the game.
The hosts claimed of a penalty for their own with 12 minutes left after Allan McGregor rushed out but replays showed the referee got it spot on as there was no contact.
Stewart thought that he’d fired Rangers back in front when he finished well from the edge of the box but it was pulled back for offside after the former Birmingham star went a touch too early.
Morelos almost won it for the Gers with a fantastic strike at goal but Von Ballmoos somehow managed to get a strong hand to to it and clear as the game entered four minutes of injury-time.
There was late drama to come for the second time today for a Rangers side in Berne as Tavernier made a complete mess of a simple clearance to gift the winner to the hosts in the 93rd minute and blow the group wide open.
Here’s how Steven Gerrard’s side performed in their second Europa League group stage fixture:
Allan McGregor – 6
The veteran keeper was called into action a few times in the frenetic early stages without ever being properly challenged by anything. Couldn’t do much about the goals and a pretty solid night for the shot-stopper.
James Tavernier – 4
Struggled to get going and deliveries were far too inconsistent. Should’ve done far better at the equaliser as gave the ball away far too easily, allowing Young Boys to get a cross in for Assalé to score. A bad night got far worse with his mistake in injury-time.
Connor Goldson – 6
Given a tough night by the Young Boys forwards and done reasonably well without ever really looking too convincing. Got a little bit lucky at times but his partnership with Helander is still in its infancy.
Filip Helander – 6
Back in the side ahead of Niko Katic and made an important early block to keep the score at 0-0. One or two shaky moments but done okay as the Gers conceded for the first time in a game the Swede has started.
Borna Barisic – 6
Delightful ball set up Morelos for the opener as the Croatian international continues to put in some steady performances. Not helped by Ojo ahead of him not helping out defensively but can be happy enough with his display.
Steven Davis – 6
Uncharacteristically slack in possession in the first half but improved as the game went on. Not at his best but still hugely influential in the middle of the park as both sides tried to get control of the game.
Glen Kamara – 6
Kept things simple but another who was too slack in possession as both sides continually gave the ball away. Some nice turns but not enough of a cutting edge when the Gers needed someone to step up.
Ryan Jack – 7
Started the game really well and was spraying passes around before the tempo settled down a little. Looked the most likely to make something happen for Rangers before limping off after an hour to leave Gerrard sweating.
Scott Arfield – 6
Covered a huge amount of ground but offered little end product as the Gers made life hard for themselves at times throughout the game. Appeared to pick up a wrist injury early on but played through it.
Sheyi Ojo – 5
Nowhere near good enough again from Ojo. For every good game he has, there’s one like tonight where he gets very little right.
Alfredo Morelos – 7
Scored the opener after a fantastic bit of play shortly before half-time but didn’t have great service as Rangers huffed and puffed for long spells. Late chance to win it but denied by a fantastic save.
Substitutes: Greg Stewart: Replaced Jack after an hour and had the ball in the net only for it to be flagged offside.