Glasgow Rangers’ European nightmare finally came to an end on Tuesday night as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were beaten 3-1 by Ajax at Ibrox.
The Gers ended the group stage with zero points from six games as the Dutchman’s men were outscored 22 goals to two against Liverpool, Napoli and the Dutch giants – becoming the worst team in the history of the competition in doing so.
Steven Berghuis opened the scoring as a brilliant team move from the away side ended in him inadvertently chipping the ball into the left corner, with Leon King leaving it as he appeared to think the shot was going wide.
Mohammed Kudus made it 2-0 before the half-hour mark as James Sands allowed him too much space in the box and the forward’s shot deflected off King to beat McGregor.
Rangers huffed and puffed in the second half and finally got themselves on the scoresheet in the 87th minute as James Tavernier converted from the spot after substitute Rabbi Matondo was fouled.
That only turned out to be a consolation, though, as Francisco Conceicao ran off the back of King and sent Borna Barisic away before rolling the ball into the back of the net.
Whilst King gave a helping hand to Ajax in all of their goals, the real villain for the head coach on the night was starting number nine Antonio Colak.
The Croatian striker has been in phenomenal form in the Premiership this season, scoring 11 goals in 12 appearances so far, but he ended the group stage of the Champions League without a goal contribution to his name.
He had the unenviable task of leading the line for a struggling Rangers team but did not do himself justice with his performance as he allowed himself to be dominated with ease by the Ajax defenders.
Colak needed to offer his team an out ball at the top end of the pitch to allow the rest of his teammates to get up the pitch, to create worthwhile attacks, and he was unable to do that.
As per SofaScore, he lost 80% (4/5) of his individual duels and was dribbled past once, whilst failing to make a single tackle in his 60 minutes on the pitch.
These statistics show that he was bullied by former Light Blues man Calvin Bassey and the rest of the Ajax defence, which meant that the ball kept coming back at the Gers backline – putting them under pressure.
He offered very little in possession when he did have the chance to control the ball. The former PAOK man completed only five passes and lost the ball five times from 12 touches – failing to register an effort on goal or a key pass.
Therefore, the Gers lightweight was the real villain for van Bronckhorst’s side as his failure to hold the ball up, or offer quality when he did get the chance to attack the Ajax defence, was a huge hindrance to the team as it affected the overall performance by allowing the Dutch side to pile the pressure on the likes of King and Sands.