Fashion Sakala stretched to finish for Rangers’ fifth goal and his hat-trick
Fashion Sakala scored a hat-trick as Rangers powered past 10-man Motherwell to stretch their Scottish Premiership lead to four points.
Bevis Mugabi squeezed the hosts in front but Rangers captain James Tavernier stroked in a superb volley and then crossed for Sakala to turn the game around on half-time.
Sakala added further strikes either side of Glen Kamara’s fine goal in the second half with Motherwell captain Stephen O’Donnell sent off at 3-1. Kemar Roofe rounded off a thumping win.The victory means Steven Gerrard’s side are four points clear of second-place Celtic, with Hearts and Dundee United also dropping points this weekend. The bruising loss keeps Motherwell seventh.
Rangers initially produced their archetypal league display so far as they conceded first for the ninth time in all competitions and third time in a week in the Premiership, only to shake themselves to life and turn the game in style.
A defensive mix-up between Tavernier and Connor Goldson from a long ball led to an unnecessary corner, from which Sondre Solholm Johansen forced Allan McGregor into a fine stop only for Mugabi to turn the ball into the far corner on the rebound.
Mugabi was key to Motherwell’s response in defence as he consistently repelled crosses into the box, but eventually Rangers were able to free their full-backs to cause problems and turn the tide.
First, left-back Calvin Bassey was allowed to swing a high ball in which found Tavernier at the back post, and he composed himself impressively to take it first time and drill into the far corner.
It was a sumptuous strike, and it roused Rangers before the break as Motherwell toiled. After surviving one scare in the box, they allowed Tavernier room on the right to land the ball on Sakala’s head and the Zambian striker planted it beyond Liam Kelly.
Having started brightly, Motherwell lost their way and were kept at arm’s length by a dominant Rangers performance.
Sakala eventually netted the third goal with a strike on the edge of the box that struck Mugabi and flew past Kelly in the Motherwell goal.
And things were to get worse for Motherwell as O’Donnell – booked in the first half for holding back Sakala – was dismissed after a late tackle on Bassey, before Kamara drove home from the edge of the box to grab his first goal of the season.
Sakala was enjoying a rare start and made sure he will be in firm contention to start against Brondby in the Europa League as he pounced from close range to tap in from Steven Davis’ cross to grab a hat-trick.
And top scorer Roofe capped a fine victory by stabbing home after fellow substitute Jack Simpson flicked on Tavernier’s corner.