Lech Poznan 0-2 Rangers: Itten and Hagi seal Group D top spot for Gerrard's men

By Guy Atkinson 11 December 2020 8
Lech Poznan 0-2 Rangers: Itten and Hagi seal Group D top spot for Gerrard's men

Rangers sealed top spot in Europa League Group D as goals in either half from Cedric Itten and Ianis Hagi led Steven Gerrard's side to a routine 2-0 win over Lech Poznan on Thursday.

The Scottish Premiership leaders made seven changes from the weekend triumph over Ross County after ensuring their progression to the last 32 with last week's 3-2 beating of Standard Liege, but they never looked in danger of failing to secure a fourth win from their six group games.

The new-look side went ahead shortly after the half-hour mark thanks to Itten's first European goal for the club.

They wrapped up just a third win in their past 20 away games in Europe courtesy of Hagi's close-range header with 18 minutes remaining.

Rangers started slowly and were fortunate not to fall behind after 15 minutes, unmarked Poznan captain Lubomir Satka inexplicably heading over from six yards.

The visitors belatedly woke from their slumber and went ahead with their first shot on target after 31 minutes.

Jakub Kaminski sloppily gifted possession to Itten, who waltzed past Djordje Crnomarkovic inside the penalty area before lashing a fierce strike into the roof of Filip Bednarek's net from 10 yards.

Rangers went agonisingly close to doubling their advantage before the interval, but Hagi's deflected strike flashed narrowly past the post.

Hagi had a low shot from outside the area saved by Bednarek early in the second half, while Jon McLaughlin did well to paw away Tymoteusz Puchacz's free-kick at the other end.

Rangers then sealed victory inside the final 20 minutes, Hagi nodding in from almost on the line after Connor Goldson's looping header bounced down off the crossbar.

What does it mean? Rangers extend impressive unbeaten run

It is testament to Rangers' confidence that they could make significant changes to their starting XI and still cruise past Poznan on their own turf.

This latest win stretches their unbeaten streak to a whopping 25 games and they will not fear anyone ahead of the last-32 draw in Nyon on Monday.

Hagi impresses for visitors

The Romanian was comfortably Rangers' brightest spark. He ensured a comfortable final 20 minutes with what will likely be the easiest goal of his career, while he enjoyed a match-high four shots and made two key passes.

Kaminski endures torrid first half

It was little surprise to see Poznan winger Kaminski hauled off at half-time. Not only was the 18-year-old entirely at fault for Itten's goal, but he completed just nine of his 16 passes (56.3 per cent) and lost possession 11 times – the third-most of any player to feature for at least 45 minutes.

Key Opta Facts

- Rangers are unbeaten in their past 10 Europa League group stage matches (W5 D5).
- Itten notched his third Rangers goal in all competitions, with his other two coming in the same game against Motherwell in September.
- Hagi has been involved in four goals in five Europa League starts for Rangers (three goals, one assist).

What's next?

Both sides are in domestic action on Sunday, with Rangers visiting Dundee United and Poznan travelling to Stal Mielec.

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Guy Atkinson