Rangers Europa League optimism as mid-table Lyon stutter in Ligue 1
Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Rangers Europa League optimism as mid-table Lyon stutter in Ligue 1

Rangers will take Europa League encouragement from stuttering Lyon form in Ligue 1 as a star-studded side dropped yet another two points in the French top flight, this time away to Bordeaux.

The French outfit are one of the most expensively assembled in the country and in their starting line up included the likes of £19m Lucas Paqueta, £21m Bruno Guimaraes, and £21m Thiago Mendes.

Rangers will be hoping to land a blow on Lyon as they gear up for a Europa League free-hit. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

And that’s before we talk the exorbitant wages being paid to fellow starters like Xherdan Shaqiri or Jerome Boateng.

But this team of underperforming stars continued their woeful domestic form this season with a 2-2 draw in the south of France which will give rise to optimism regarding an upset in the Rangers camp.

Lyon twice threw away a lead in the Stade de Bordeaux and went ahead around the half-hour mark when ex-Celtic defender Jason Denayer headed in from a corner.

Only seven minutes later a Malo Gusto own goal had Les Girondins level, the right-back sliding the ball into his own net after a low cross into the six-yard box.

Lyon would go into the halftime with the lead after Thiago Mendes hit a stunning volley past Bordeaux keeper Benoit Costil, a reminder of the quality in Peter Bosz’s side.

Thiago Mendes netted a stunner to send Rangers a Europa League reminder of the quality in the Lyon ranks. (Photo by Romain Perrocheau / AFP) (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

But some calamitous defending would highlight the side’s weaknesses as striker Alberth Elis was given the freedom of the park to run through on goal and slot past Anthony Lopes.

The Portuguese keeper would also rescue the point for Lyon with a stunning close-range save which kept the score at 2-2.

This result was Lyon’s fifth draw of a bang average season so far where they currently sit in 12th place, winning only two of their last five league matches.

Rangers fans will begin to dream ahead of Europa League free hit against stuttering Lyon

Rangers are in a much better place now than where they were when they faced Lyon in the group opener in September, the French side winning 2-0 at Ibrox.

Lyon’s spending power has also been flexed throughout the Europa League group stage, with the French side yet to ship a single point after winning all five matches to date in Group A.

Rangers know they are already qualified and as a result we expect to see some major rotation but this game is a free hit and the chance for some players to catch the eye of Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst kicked off his reign as Rangers manager with a 2-0 Europa League win over Sparta Prague. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Who knows, if Rangers start with some belief, perhaps we can pull off a repeat of that famous 3-0 victory against the then-French Champions in 2007.

Travelling Rangers fans have also been sent a warning by the local Lyon police as the club’s supporters are banned from an area of the city.