Rangers FC sprang a major surprise with a stunning success at Olympique Lyonnais which ended a run of nine UEFA Champions League away games without a victory and ensured they kept pace with FC Barcelona at the top of Group E.
The Glasgow club showed skill and endeavour to overcome Lyon, who have now failed to win in six European matches. Alain Perrin's men had slumped to their heaviest UEFA Champions League defeat in Barcelona two weeks before but few imagined a repeat of that 3-0 scoreline, even when Lee McCulloch opened the scoring midway through the first period. However, two goals in the space of five second-half minutes from DaMarcus Beasley and Daniel Cousin secured a memorable result for Rangers, whose last away triumph in the competition had come in 2000.
With Lyon unable to score in their last three UEFA Champions League outings, coach Perrin made his intentions clear by packing the side with attacking talent – Juninho Pernambucano and Mathieu Bodmer playing advanced roles behind a trident of Sidney Govou, Karim Benzema and Milan Baroš. The hosts pressed forward with urgency from the start but Rangers, defending with fierce determination, snuffed out the danger. Juninho and Baroš both had efforts blocked and when Carlos Cuéllar deflected Benzema's shot goalwards, Allan McGregor made a comfortable save.
Having calmed the early storm, Walter Smith's team began to show more ambition, lone striker Cousin turning Sébastien Squillaci only to be denied by Anderson's lunging challenge. That hint of an opening prompted a volley of noise from the away fans and moments later they were celebrating the tie's first goal. Nobody picked up McCulloch's run to the near post and the midfielder, making his competition debut, rose to head in Beasley's right-wing corner on 23 minutes.
The French champions sought an instant response but their approach play was often hurried and their finishing wayward. Baroš, Bodmer and Kim Källström all fired over before Juninho tested McGregor with a swerving free-kick. The captain's set-piece skills were proving Lyon's most dangerous weapon and Rangers had another escape on the stroke of half-time when the Brazilian's dipping attempt from 20 metres crashed back off the crossbar.
Juninho tried hard to rally his off-colour side, shooting narrowly wide two minutes into the second period, yet Rangers looked sharper and took the match away from Lyon with two quick goals. Cousin struck first on 48 minutes, controlling Alan Hutton's right-wing cross and turning sharply to rifle an unstoppable shot past Rémy Vercoutre from close range. The tall Gabon forward then turned provider, sweeping a precise crossfield pass over Squillaci's head for Beasley to bring the ball down and slot past an exposed Vercoutre.
Drained of confidence, Lyon never looked likely to mount a comeback and when Juninho rattled the woodwork for a second time, the game seemed to be up. There was still time for McGregor to deny Hatem Ben Arfa, before Anderson nodded the resulting corner against the crossbar as luck deserted Lyon.