Glasgow Rangers overcame a poor start at Ibrox this afternoon to eventually prevail 3-1 against Dundee.
The Dens Park side took the lead after just five minutes, yet goals from Cyriel Dessers and James Tavernier turned the tables, before Abdallah Sima added a third with ten minutes of the first half remaining.
It looked as though the Gers would run away with the tie, yet Jose Cifuentes was sent off following a VAR review and Philippe Clement’s men had to play the second 45 with ten men.
In the end, the sending-off didn’t make a difference and there were some solid performances, with Sima continuing his sparkling run of form.
Abdallah Sima’s statistics vs Dundee
The on-loan Brighton and Hove Albion winger scored in his previous two league matches prior to the match today, and he managed to keep his streak going with yet another fine effort.
With Danilo out injured and the form of Cyriel Dessers hardly setting Ibrox alight, there was a chance that Clement may have unleashed Sima in a more central role.
The 22-year-old was deployed in his usual left-wing slot and impressed once again, taking four shots during the tie, along with making one key pass and succeeding with two of his three dribble attempts.
His pace was a constant threat to the Dundee defence and the Light Blues will need to wrap him in bubble wrap over the coming days as he is their most valuable player at the moment.
Tavernier also put in an impressive display, and he led from the front when the Gers went a goal down.
James Tavernier’s game in numbers vs Dundee
During the midweek win over Hearts, the captain grabbed an assist with a stunning pass to Sima and it led to praise from journalist Mark McDougall, who said: “That pass from James Tavernier is outstanding. A wildly disrespected footballer.”
Of course, he divides opinion at times, but there is no taking away from what Tavernier brings to this Rangers side, and he showed his leadership skills after they went down a goal in the first five minutes.
The Englishman scored his trademark penalty which gave the Ibrox side a 2-1 advantage, but he also hit the woodwork too.
Tavernier took 84 touches throughout the game as he was eager to constantly get on the ball and his attacking traits were on full display and, along with the goal, the 32-year-old made three key passes, delivered three successful crosses and succeeded with 100% of his dribble attempts as he bombed up and down the right flank.
Being so far up the field at times ensured he was dispossesed a total of 18 times during the tie, but that didn’t matter in the end, as the club secured all three points.
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He won four of his six aerial duels and wasn’t dribbled past once, indicating how solid he was defensively, and it was an all-around excellent performance from the captain.
With a crucial Europa League clash on Thursday against Real Betis, this win will have further boosted confidence heading into that tie.