Rangers bid of securing a Scottish Premiership title for the 1st time in about 8 seasons was kept alive with a resounding 4-2 win over hot on their heels and 3rd on log table, Aberdeen on Wednesday evening, goals from Alfredo Morelos, James Tavernier and substitute, Jermain Defoe secured Gerrard-led Rangers’ 4th win in a row.
The matchup between these 2 clubs had always been feisty, in fact, the last 2-league meetings had produced 3 red cards, 1 for Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove and 2 for Alfredo Morelos, seems Morelos have a personal vendetta against Aberdeen. Also, the last 3 meetings had seen Rangers dominated proceedings but were undone twice by a 1-nil scoreline and the 3rd match ended in a draw.
There had been much debate whether Rangers coach Steven Gerrard should stick to his 4-3-3 that has brought him an instant success at Ibrox or deploy a traditional 4-4-2 formation to accommodate new loan signing, Jermain Defoe and in-form striker, Alfredo Morelos. Both players were used in a 4-4-2 formation against Kilmarnock some 4 matches ago, but ended up losing 1-2, Gerrard quickly debunked the notion that the loss was due to change of tactics and formation, he resorted back to the preferred 4-3-3 and Rangers had gone on to win 4 in a row including this win over Aberdeen.
Key Moments: Aberdeen 2-4 Rangers,
It was an entertaining end-to-end matchup that contained everything a match has to offer, Goals, Spot-kicks, Cautions and Dismissals;
20′ ; It was Rangers who lit up the stadium in the 20th minute, when Liverpool loanee and in-form Rangers forward, Ryan Kent made a run into the box and then fired a shot at Joe Lewis in Aberdeen goal, the goalkeeper could only parry the ball unto the path of Morelos who duly obliged and scored.
31′ ; Aberdeen would not go down without a fight on home turf, just 11 minutes after they conceded, Aberdeen responded with an equalizer through the Scottish league top scorer, Sam Cosgrove. Almost a replica of Rangers goal, Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson well-connected volley ricocheted off Rangers’ players and fell unto the path of Cosgrove, who side-footed into the net.
38′ ; Rangers really meant business and regained the lead, once again, it was Kent-Morelos combination, the lively forward was a constant menace to the Aberdeen defence, and his pass picked out Morelos who left-footed into the bottom corner.
43′ ; Rangers steered clear with the 3rd goal, another penalty in their favour, making it the 4th spot-kicks in last 2 league matches ( scored 3 spot- kicks in their 4-0 victory over St Mirren). James Tavernier initial free-kick was handled in the box by Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna, Rangers’ captain duly scored his 3rd from 12 yards in last 2 games.
47′ ; The 2nd half barely started when Aberdeen pulled 1 more goal back, Sam Cosgrove drew a foul from Rangers captain, Tavernier and the referee pointed to the spot, Cosgrove dusted himself up to tuck away the spot-kick to make the scoreline 2-3.
55′ ; Alfredo Morelos found himself in the bad book again, the Colombian, just like his 2 previous matches against Aberdeen, was sent off after involving in a tangle with Aberdeen’s James McKenna, the referee, Bobby Madden also sent off McKenna for violent play.
90+4′ ; With both teams playing with 10 men, it was all Aberdeen trying to find the equalizer, they threw bodies forward and left themselves open at the back and were duly put to sword by Rangers, a quick break-away saw substitute, Jermain Defoe unmarked at the far end, and he smartly fired home the 4th for Rangers.
Rangers still sit in 2nd place on the Scottish Premier League, 6 points adrift of log leader, Celtic, but are now 5-point clear of their rival, Aberdeen in 3rd place.
Steven Gerrard has not even completed a season as Rangers manager yet, but he is already making a name for himself not just at Ibrox but in the league at large. If he can upstage Celtic to the league title remains to be seen, that will be one headliner if he does.
note: images are BBCSports’ and blog can be found on my Scorum account also
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