Uganda Cranes defender Bevis Mugabi was on target as 10 man Motherwell lost 1-6 to visitors Rangers in the Scottish Premier League on Sunday.
Mugabi squeezed the hosts in front when he turned the ball into the far corner on the rebound. This was after a fine save from goalkeeper Allan McGregor following a corner kick that resulted from a defensive mix-up between captain James Tavernier and Connor Goldson.
However, the lead was soon cancelled by Tavernier who stroked in a superb volley and then crossed for Fashion 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 Ugandan 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 from close range after fellow substitute Jack Simpson flicked on Tavernier’s corner.
Motherwell have now lost five of their last six games and the Graham Alexander’s men must improve on their efficiency in attack and hold on to the ball better if they are to get anything positive from the away match against Aberdeen on Saturday.
The defeat leaves Motherwell 7th in the table with 15 points after 12 games played while Rangers occupy the top spot with 27 points. Celtic are second with 23 points.