31 October 2022

Rangers need point against Ajax to avoid worst CL group-stage record

31 October 2022

Rangers go into their final Champions League group game needing a point against Ajax to avoid a piece of unwanted history.

The worst ever group-stage record belongs to Dinamo Zagreb in the 2011-12 season, when they lost all six games with a goal difference of -19.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are currently at -18 after losing their first five and here, the PA news agency looks at how they compare to Dinamo and the rest of the worst performers.

Tale of woe

  • 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’ 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 remains the Ibrox side’s only goal in their five games, with the 19 they have conceded putting them in the least desirable of company.

Hat-trick history

The low point of Rangers’ campaign so far came when Liverpool substitute Mohamed 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.

  • 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

The Dutch giants won the return fixture 4-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA, however, as the floodgates began to creak open.

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.

All-time low

Any defeat for Rangers on Tuesday would see them at least match Dinamo’s -19 goal difference from six defeats, while their solitary goal scored to date matches the rest of the worst records.

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 also 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.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox