As merciless Ajax caused chaos in Amsterdam, Rangers’ much-anticipated comeback to the Champions League turned into a disaster. A disastrous first half dashed expectations of a first victory in the Dutch capital to break a 12-year hiatus from Europe’s premier competition.
Johan Cruyff Arena host of Sport Scotland
Instead, Edson Alvarez, Steven Berghuis, Mohammed Kudus, and Steven Bergwijn scored goals to defeat the Europa League runners-up.
In the second half, Borna Barisic scored, but VAR disallowed it because it was offside.
After their Old Firm collapse at Celtic Park on Saturday, Rangers suffered their second 4-0 loss in as many days with this defeat.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the manager, had no hesitation before the fight. In response to queries regarding prospective team adjustments following Saturday’s humiliation of Celtic, the Dutchman received inquiries. most notably Jon McLaughlin, the goaltender.
We have recovered from significant setbacks in the past, and we must do the same thing tomorrow, he said. “You keep trusting your players and giving them confidence.”
However, given that his team trailed 3-0 at halftime less than a day later and his captain had been replaced, Van Bronckhorst may be excused for reconsidering the situation.
Moving on to the Champions League was always going to be a step up, even after reaching the Europa League final. The rangers started out defensive but tight, hesitant but adequate. On a sweltering night, the floodgates finally let loose.
The ball was in the Ranger’s goal shortly after a reluctant Ryan Kent dodged out of a fantastic counterattack opportunity. There was a corner that needed to be handled. Alvarez, on the other hand, took a two-step maneuver to get around a dozing James Sands and in.
The Ranger’s defense grew tense and sluggish as the waves of red and white attacks crashed against it. Before the second goal was scored shortly after the half-hour mark, Devyne Rensch saw one attempt saved and another sail wide.
On the edge of the Rangers box, Berghuis had space to set up a shot. His shot appeared to be heading past the diving McLaughlin, but it was deflected away from the goalkeeper by a strong Sands deflection.
When Kudus crashed in the third, the Ajax F-Side Ultras in the stands were still in full party mode, but it was so simple.
James Tavernier was taken off guard by his close control and spin, and was unable to do a convincing job of stopping the galloping Ghanaian from shooting across McLaughlin and in off the upright.
At halftime, Van Bronckhorst substituted three players, including Tavernier, but the Rangers didn’t really respond until 20 minutes remained in the game.
After a thorough VAR review, it was determined that Kent was a good few yards offside during the build-up when he cut back for Barisic, which allowed the defender to arc a beautiful strike into the far corner.
But the evening would only get worse when Bergwijn pounced on a shoddy Ryan Jack backpass to finish by around McLaughlin.
It is simple to criticize Rangers’ sluggish defense. As it is to give Ajax credit for their persistence in tying up their opponents with intricate triangles, off-ball sprinting, and more dropped shoulders than you can throw a stick at.
Thoughts immediately turn to the adage “defending starts from the front.” And Rangers were just plain ineffective. The Ibrox team’s star up forwards, Antonio Colak, rarely touched the ball. Before being replaced during the interval, Malik Tillman tried but had little help.
With just one goal this year, Kent cut a dissatisfied figure to the left, and it’s easy to see why. Late in the game, there were a few sparks, but the Rangers need more from him.
This team has demonstrated that it can outperform clubs of this caliber in Europe, and Van Bronckhorst warned against having beforehand knee-jerk emotions. However, after two 4-0 losses, it is urgent for a response to show that the coach was right to have faith in his players.
Eight goals in two games are too much for Rangers; it can never happen, according to Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst. You can lose a game even if your opponent is powerful, but not if you give away goals as we did.
“In football, you occasionally taste triumph and success, and occasionally you taste defeat and feel depressed. Those were the times in my professional life when I wanted to battle even harder. That’s also what I demand of my guys.
Calvin Bassey, a former Rangers defender who now plays defense for Ajax, said, “I’m buzzing, but it’s a weird feeling. It wasn’t easy for us; we just executed at the right times. There’s still work to be done for us to improve, but we’re satisfied with the performance.
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