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Ajax flex muscles at Firhill against Rangers in UEFA Youth League action

Ajax ran out 6-2 victors in their Group F finale against Rangers at Firhill Stadium in the UEFA Youth League. The home side struggled to contain their Dutch opposition’s classy display after a first-half dismissal.

Rangers went into game knowing that no matter the result, they were finishing third in Group F. Ajax knew they had to win and rely on Italian side Napoli defeating eventual table-toppers Liverpool if they were to finish first in the group.

Photo: Rachael Hatfield

The Amsterdam side sent out a warning signal right away and thought they took the lead through Skye Vink in the third minute, however, it was quickly ruled out for offside.

Five minutes later following a spell of controlled possession, Ajax would make the breakthrough. Tricky winger, David Kalokoh weaved between a pair of Rangers defenders inside the box and curled his effort accurately into the bottom right corner.

They continued to threaten and would eventually find themselves a man to the good in the 25th minute when Bailey Rice was sent for an early bath after being deemed the last man after he pulled down Vink who was bearing down on goal near the edge of the penalty area.

Rangers responded very well to the sending-off as Ross McCausland equalised for the hosts. Jack Harkness bombed down the right-hand side and whipped a low ball into the second six, where a goal-bound effort was cleared off the line, only for McCausland to follow up and slot in the rebound.

Photo: Rachael Hatfield

The red card was not a factor for the remainder of the first half, with Rangers enjoying possession and creating several chances, before taking the lead in the 38th minute. Zak Lovelace used his pace and drove down the right-hand side of the box, delivering a low cross that was deflected off an Ajax player. The ball found its way to McCausland who again was composure personified when sending his effort on its way to the back of the net.

Rangers looked as though they were going to have enough to see the half out and go into the interval ahead until a moment of magic from the opening goal-scorer Kalokoh levelled the sides. After he showed another glimpse of his talent but powerfully dribbling towards the Rangers’ area, he powered home his effort into the bottom left corner to level the scoring in added time.

Ajax definitely looked as though they were making their extra man advantage count after a flurry of chances in the opening ten minutes of the second half, however there was a slice of good fortune when they re-took the lead. Winger, Stains Idumbo-Muzambo, was able to beat full-back Harkness out wide and saw his cross bundled in by Rangers’ Ciubotaru who just could not get out of the way of it.

Ajax continued their strong start and would double their lead on the hour mark. Left-back Chahine Van Bohemen struck from range after he collected the ball from far out following a stramash inside the area.

Photo: Rachael Hatfield

Ajax kept up with their style of getting the ball out wide, looking for low deliveries, and capitalised on this approach again. Striker, Vink found space on the right wing and zipped a ball across the six-yard line for his teammate Rida Chahid to tap in from close range.

The game was rounded off with a final Ajax goal, this time coming through the form of substitute Yoram Boerhout. The centre-forward latched onto the end of a Raphael Sarto through ball, before taking his time and calmy finishing past Jacob Pazikas in the Rangers net.

Although the score-line may seem a little harsh on Rangers, they can take satisfaction from their first half following their strong response to the adversity which was the early sending-off. There is no shame in losing to a side with the quality this Ajax side has, who will feel aggrieved that their 13 points tally is not enough for them to progress to the next stage as group winners. Rangers can hold their heads high following their campaign as they aim to be playing in the UEFA Youth League next season and going that step further into the knockout stages.

Photo: Rachael Hatfield

Rangers Player of the Match: Ross McCausland

McCausland netted both his side’s goals with complete composure. Rangers’ manager David McCallum said post-match of his star man: “Ross had a big impact today. Once you go down to ten men you want to try keep certain players on the pitch because you know they have the pace and the energy to cause a problem to Ajax and Ross certainly fits that bill for sure”.

Ajax Player of the Match: David Kalokoh

The Ajax player of the match could have gone to a catalogue of players, but once again it is going to the double-goalscorer. Kalokoh scored both goals with conviction, beating defenders with difficult skill moves which he made look easy. Away from his goals, he was a constant threat and a major factor in Ajax’s away victory in Glasgow.

Rangers U19s

1. Jacob Pazikas

2. Jack Harkness

3. Kevin Ciubotaru

4. Kelsey Ewen

5. Lewis MacKinnon

6. Bailey Rice

7. Zakariya Lovelace

8. Charlie Lindsay

9. Robbie Ure

10. Arron Lyall

11. Ross McCausland


21. Sam Kane

12. Kristain Webster

14. Mackenzie Strachan

15. Paul Nsio

16. Tyler Pasnik

17. James Graham

18. Connor Young

Ajax U19s

1. Paul Reverson

2. Raphael Sarto

3. Tristan Gooijer

4. Jorrel Hato

5. Chahine van Bohemen

6. Olaf Gorter

7. Nassef Chourak

8. Rida Chahid

9. Skye Vink

10. Stains Idumbo-Muzambo

11. David Kalokoh


12. Merf Alegoz

15. Neal Alegoz

16. Gerald Alders

17. Rico Speksnijder

18. Alvaro Henry

19. Yoram Boerhout

20. Nash Bijnoe

Referee: Jan Machalek

Assistant Referees: Marek Podany, Petr Likar

Fourth Official: Calum Scott



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