Thursday, July 25, 2024

Was Van Bronckhorst right to substitute Fashion Sakala after 59 minutes?

Zambian forward Fashion Sakala made a return to the starting XI after being an unused substitute in Rangers’ midweek win at St. Johnstone.

However, Sakala was strangely substituted early in the second as Rangers scored late to claim a narrow 1-0 win over Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon.

When team sheets were announced, there was no surprise that Sakala was in the starting line-up following an impressive showing last weekend.

As expected, it was the hosts that controlled early proceedings with Morelos seeing his low drilled effort drift wide of the post.

Sakala looked lively. In the 15th minute, he pounced on a loose ball on the right but his crosss into the box was poor.

Ten minutes later, Sakala tried to play another low cross into the box and again the opposition defence cleared.

Pre-match build up was centered on celebrations marking Glasgow Ranger’s 150th anniversary

Next Finnish international, Glen Kamara nearly put Rangers ahead when his effort from inside the box was deflected off the post for a corner.

Three minutes later, Sakala sent a tame header off target from inside the penalty area for the tie to end 0-0 at half time.

Into the Second-half, Rangers looked more purposeful with Sakala looking to take things personal following his four chances in quick succession.

About five minutes after the restart, he saw his header go over the bar after a patient team build-up.

Four minutes later, he reacted first unchallenged inside the box but his tame header went wide.

Moments later, Aribo nodded down a ball in his path but Sakala blasted his strike over the bar.

Finally in the 58th minute, Sakala rose highest at the back post to head a cross into the side net.

Rangers manager, Gio Van Bronckhorst decided he had seen enough and withdrew Sakala for Scott Arfield in a like-for-like substitution.

MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND – OCTOBER 31: Fashion Sakala of Rangers celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Motherwell FC and Rangers FC at Fir Park on October 31, 2021 in Motherwell, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With the visitors defending resolutely, Rangers had to wait until the 81st minute to grab the winner.

Kemar Roofe, who had come onto the field just minutes earlier, was the hero when he pounced from very close range to the delight and relief of a packed Ibrox.

From there, the Light Blues saw the game out with real comfort, and can now look forward to the UEFA Europa League visit of Crvena Zvezda on Thursday night.


Overall, Fashion Sakala played okay. His movements inside the box were good. He kept popping up whenever the ball was played-in. However, his crossing was questionable at times.

One would argue that given the amount of ‘half-chances presented to him, he should have at least put one on target.

While another would argue that had he stayed on longer, perhaps he could have scored a goal.

That said, if Fashion Sakala is to cement his place in this Glasgow Rangers team, he has got to take every chance that he gets.

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