Rangers 1 – 3 Ajax

Rangers lost 3-1 against Ajax in their last group match, recording the worst run in Champions League history.

Rangers needed a five-goal swing to beat Ajax into third place and the Europa League, knowing a two-goal deficit would leave them with the worst point in Europe.

Goals from Steven Bergois, Mohamed Kodos and Francisco Conceicao made it six consecutive defeats for the Ibrox men as James Tavernier’s penalty failed to prevent a minus-20 goal difference.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side became the first Scottish side to lose all of their group games in Europe’s top competition, while Ajax finished third to advance to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

How Rangers ended a dismal campaign with an unwanted record

Rangers recorded the worst period in Champions League history
James Tavernier gave Rangers fans something to cheer about with a penalty

Forming a squad in itself will be a challenge for van Bronckhorst, who has suspended midfielder John Lundstram and has nine injured – including defenders Ben Davies and Ridwan Yilmaz from the weekend’s win over Aberdeen.

Left-back Borna Barisic and veteran midfielders Steve Davies and Scott Arfield were replaced.

Ex-Gres defender Calvin Bassi was in a strong Ajax side that struck early and early to dampen early optimism.

Ajax celebrated after Mohamed Kodos scored in a 2-0 win against Rangers
Ajax celebrated a 2-0 lead on the night

In the fourth minute, to finish off a soft attack down the left, Kudus set up Bergois to beat Grass goalkeeper Alan McGregor from the edge of the box.

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It was looking ominous for Rangers early on – McGregor had to step back to catch a Burgess lob under his crossbar – but the undermanned home side eventually settled down and went for an equaliser.

The worst period in the history of the European Champions League

  • Rangers are the first Scottish team to go through this group without a point.
  • Dinamo Zagreb previously held the worst away record with minus-19 goals since 2011-12 – a tally level with Viktoria Plzen this season but dwarfed by Scotland’s top-flight side.

In the 13th minute, the covering Bassey headed Fashion Sakala off the line after good work by Ryan Kent, sending his winger out to head home his cross from the left.

However, another lapse in concentration allowed Ajax to extend their lead, this time from Kodos provider Owen Wijendaal – his deflected shot deflected off teenage defender Leon King and beat McGregor.

The keeper made a good save from Steven Bergwijn minutes later and the first sounds of frustration came from the stands soon after as Kudus fired an effort just over the bar.

Rangers conceded 22 goals in six games

More muted boos came at the half-time whistle, but there were attempts by the fans to boost the team at the start of the second half, although a possible comeback was highly unlikely.

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Kodos scored in the 55th minute after a sweeping move, but Swedish referee Glenn Nyberg ruled it out for offside after VAR review.

Just before the hour, Glenn Camara, Alfredo Morelos and Scott Wright came on for Davies, Antonio Kulak and Malik Tillman, but Ajax, with a big and noisy traveling support, remained in control.

Arfield’s superb shot in the 70th minute was headed over the bar by Ajax’s inefficient goalkeeper Remko Passor, but the corner was saved.

Alfredo Morelos misses a chance to score for Rangers
Alfredo Morelos misses a chance to score for Rangers

In the 84th minute, Morelos took advantage of the passer’s mistake, but failed to hit the goal with a distance from the goal.

Moments later, Rangers substitute Rabbi Matondo, replacing Kent, was brought down by Edson Alvarez inside the box and Tavernier fired home the penalty.

However, Conceicao, on the pitch for just a minute, fired home from close range and referee Nyberg soon blew his whistle to end a contest that went down in history for the wrong reasons for the Glasgow club.

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What the manager said

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst hopes his team can return to the Champions League next season and make an impact.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst wants his players to learn from a tough campaign:

You know there is distance but you don’t want to concede too many goals.

If you look at the goals we conceded in many games in this competition, especially at home against Liverpool, we struggled in those moments and it’s a big learning experience for us.

what then?

Sunday, November 6 at 11:00 am

Start at 12:00 pm

Rangers have three more games in the Scottish Premiership ahead of the World Cup. They travel to St Johnstone on Sunday and will be live on Sky Sports. 12pm kick-off Rangers then face Hearts on Wednesday 9 November. Start at 19:45

Their last game before the tournament is on Saturday 12 November when they travel to St Mirren, live on Sky Sports. Start at 12:30 pm

Ajax also have three more Eredivisie games before the World Cup against PSV Eindhoven, Vitesse Arnhem and Amman.


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