Thu, Oct 04, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Rangers spearhead British broadside

WINNING TRACKRangers tore Lyon apart, Arsenal beat Steaua Bucharest and Manchester United defeated Roma as Wayne Rooney chalked up his first goal of the season


Scottish giants Rangers led the way with a 3-0 victory over six-time French champions Lyon on a superb night for British clubs in the latest Champions League action on Tuesday as all three won.

English powerhouses Arsenal and Manchester United both won 1-0 -- Arsenal away at Steaua Bucharest and United with Wayne Rooney's first goal of the season at home to Roma -- to add to Rangers' first away win in their last 10 Champions League matches.

Rooney was not the only striker to end a goal drought as the flamboyant Swedish international striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in Inter Milan's 2-0 home win over PSV Eindhoven for his first goals in the Champions League in nearly two years.

While both Arsenal and United lead their groups after two matches, Rangers are second, behind Barcelona on goal difference -- the Catalan mammoths having beaten VfB Stuttgart 2-0 in Germany.

Barca's fellow Spaniards Sevilla got on the winning track -- the two-time UEFA Cup titleholders having lost to Arsenal in their opener -- in fine style by beating Slavia Prague 4-2, with former Spurs striker Fredi Kanoute opening the scoring for them.

If Rangers thought they had a dreadful away record then they had nothing on Sporting Lisbon, but the Portuguese side ended their record of not winning any previous away matches in their Champions League history by winning 2-1 against Dynamo Kiev.

Rangers, though, were magnificent as they tore apart a Lyon side and heaped the pressure on coach Alain Perrin, who boasts a record of just one win in eight Champions League matches.

The Scottish side's performance left manager Walter Smith rather surprised but delighted as well.

"It was a fantastic result, no one could have expected that," said Smith, who left the Scotland coaching post for a second spell with Rangers.

"We were hoping to sneak a result.

"But those two goals early in the second-half killed the match off. We've had some fantastic results in the past but this must be up there with them.

"It was a very good performance from us."

Perrin, who has done better at lesser clubs than when in charge of bigger ones, was honest about the feelings in the changing room.

"We are all dreadfully disappointed, we will have to assess this very quickly. Tonight was a nightmare," he said.

Arsenal showed character to defeat Romanian side Steaua Bucharest, displaying a side they have not often shown in that their soccer was more workmanlike than pretty to watch, leaving manager Arsene Wenger purring with delight.

"But it's not just that we are winning the games, it also says a lot about the resolve of the team. The focus they had today shows there is something special in the team," he said.

Manchester United also showed grit against Roma in a match they were perhaps fortunate to come away with the three points and manager Sir Alex Ferguson was confident that the goals would start flowing despite six of United's seven wins this season coming by a 1-0 margin.

"Sometimes you go through these spells. But it won't last forever. Some day we're going to hit a few goals and hopefully it will start soon," he said.

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti bemoaned his side's bad luck -- although in reality it was dreadful finishing that cost them, Simone Perrotta and Mauro Esposito in particular missing absolute sitters in the closing stages.

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