Glasgow Rangers cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Lech Poznan in the Europa League to ensure Steven Gerrard’s side finished top of Group D on Thursday night.
Rangers kept the hosts at bay with long spells of possession as they largely dominated proceedings from start to finish. Cedric Itten gave the Gers the lead after half an hour before Ianis Hagi doubled their advantage with a simple tap-in from close range.
Playing in Gerrard’s preferred 4-3-3 formation, Borna Barisic was an influential presence bombing up and down the left flank providing both width and variety in attack, Hagi silenced the doubters by putting in a clinical performance on the left wing, but the Ibrox boss will no doubt have been delighted to see Itten get on the scoresheet.
We said just this week that the Switzerland international has struggled at times so far this season but for once we have to give credit where credit is due.
He opened his account in Europe with a powerful strike before half-time and Hagi put the game beyond the Polish giants after Connor Goldson came close to scoring with a glancing header.
SofaScore gave the 23-year-old a game-high rating of 8 out of ten for his efforts – the joint-highest rating out of every player on the pitch – as he had one shot on target, one shot off target and one shot blocked, whilst he also made one tackle and blocked one shot, which suggests that he contributed defensively as well.
Itten took 42 touches of the ball and clearly made the most out of all of that possession as he combined with Hagi and Joe Aribo at almost free will, whilst he provided 20 out of 28 passes (71%), made one key pass, won nine out of his 14 duels overall (64%) and completed three successful dribble attempts, which shows that he was a real menace throughout the game.
Valued at £3.6m via Transfermarkt, in 14 appearances for Gerrard’s side, the versatile forward has scored three goals and supplied an assist, whilst he is averaging 1.5 shots and 1.5 dribbles per game in the Europa League, via WhoScored. In contrast, even Hagi has only managed fewer than one dribble on average per game in the Europa League so far this season.
This kind of performance is exactly what Rangers fans will have been expecting to see for some time and will surely go some way towards justifying the price they paid for him in the summer.
The Gers have now secured a seeded place in the Europa League last 32 draw, which takes place on Monday night, and this means that they will also be able to collect a £900,000 bonus as a result. Not bad, not bad at all.