In the absence of injured compatriot Leon Balogun, the two Nigerians helped Rangers end the year on a positive note on the continent
Calvin Bassey endured a night of mixed fortunes as Rangers were held to a 1-1 draw by Lyon in a Europa League matchday six clash at the Groupama Stadium on Thursday evening.
There was little at stake competitively ahead of kick-off as Lyon and Rangers had qualified as group leaders and runners-up, respectively. With nothing on the line, the managers of the two clubs made changes to their regular lineups.
And it was no surprise to see Gers’ boss Gio van Bronckhorst keep arguably his best player, Joe Aribo, out of the starting eleven and on the bench.
Super Eagles hopeful Calvin Bassey, however, retained his position at the heart of the visitor’s defence.
Lyon also rested a couple of their key players. However, the French side still handed starts to the exciting attacking trio of Shaqiri, Ekambi, and Dembele to provide Bassey with one of his biggest challenges yet.
But the 21-year-old did a fine job and was a key reason why Lyon made a few inroads towards the Gers goal despite bossing a larger chunk of the ball possession in the opening 45 minutes.
And Rangers capped a composed first-half performance with the tie’s opening goal, which arrived when Scott Wright’s sharp shot took a huge deflection and nestled in the opponent’s net.
But Lyon had won each of their first five Group A matches and were always a threat in the final third. And the Ligue 1 side roared back on levelled terms four minutes into the second period.
Their equaliser, however, came through an unfortunate deflection off Bassey.
The Nigerian defender had done so well until Rayan Cherki got down the right flank and aimed a shot across goal, only for it to bounce off Bassey for an own goal.
Aribo came in for Kemar Roofe midway through the second half, but neither side could find a winning goal as they settled for a draw in the final Europa League night of the year.