Rangers’ dismal Champions League record in focus

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side lost all six games and finished with a goal difference of -20.
Rangers’ dismal Champions League record in focus

By Tom White, PA Sport Data Journalist

Rangers recorded the worst ever Champions League record after finishing their Group A campaign with a 3-1 defeat to Ajax.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side lost all six games and finished with a goal difference of -20, one worse than the record set by Dinamo Zagreb in the 2011-12 season.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how they compare to Dinamo and the rest of the worst performers.

All-time low

  • Ajax 4 Rangers 0, September 7
  • Rangers 0 Napoli 3, September 14
  • Liverpool 2 Rangers 0, October 4
  • Rangers 1 Liverpool 7, October 12
  • Napoli 3 Rangers 0, October 26
  • Rangers 1 Ajax 3, November 1

Rangers’ European campaign was quickly on the back foot as they fell 3-0 behind to Ajax in little more than half an hour of their opening game before eventually losing 4-0.

Defender James Sands was sent off in the first of a pair of 3-0 defeats to Napoli, while Liverpool won 2-0 at Anfield and enjoyed a 7-1 stroll in Govan with a Mohamed Salah hat-trick and two goals from Roberto Firmino.

Scott Arfield’s opener in that game was the first goal scored by the Ibrox side and, needing a point against Ajax to avoid an unwanted place in history, they fell two goals down inside half an hour and found no way back despite James Tavernier’s penalty.

Hat-trick history

Mohamed Salah celebrates his hat-trick at Ibrox
Mohamed Salah celebrates his hat-trick at Ibrox (Steve Welsh/PA)

The low point of Rangers’ campaign came when Liverpool substitute Salah scored a hat-trick in just over six minutes in that 7-1 win.

That brought the closest parallel to Dinamo’s season of woe, with Salah breaking the record for the fastest ever Champions League treble previously held by Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis in another 7-1 win over the Croatian side.

Dinamo’s campaign had started relatively respectably, losing only 1-0 to Real Madrid in their opening game and 2-0 to both Lyon and Ajax. The Dutch giants won the return fixture 4-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA, however, as the floodgates began to creak open.

  • Dinamo Zagreb 0 Real Madrid 1, September 14, 2011
  • Lyon 2 Dinamo Zagreb 0, September 27, 2011
  • Dinamo Zagreb 0 Ajax 2, October 18, 2011
  • Ajax 4 Dinamo Zagreb 0, November 2, 2011
  • Real Madrid 6 Dinamo Zagreb 2, November 22, 2011
  • Dinamo Zagreb 1 Lyon 7, December 7, 2011

Like Rangers, Dinamo’s goals came in their heaviest losses – the first two while already trailing by six to Real after doubles from Karim Benzema and Jose Callejon.

They then led against Lyon but capitulated spectacularly, Gomis ultimately scoring four as Lyon edged out Ajax on goal difference to qualify. Dinamo finished with six losses, three goals for and 22 against.

Spartak Moscow scored one and conceded 18 in 2002-03’s first group stage when up against Valencia, Basel and Liverpool, while Levski Sofia scored one and conceded 17 against Chelsea, Barcelona and Werder Bremen in 2006-07.

Levski’s -16 goal difference was matched by MSK Zilina in 2010-11 and Besiktas last season, while the worst record without a goal scored still belongs to Dinamo as they conceded 15 without reply to Juventus, Sevilla and Lyon in 2016-17. Dynamo Kyiv in 2007-08 and Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2015-16 also had -15 goal differences and zero points.

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