Rangers Under 19’s recorded the club’s first ever Champions Youth League Group Stage win with a comfortable victory over Napoli at Firhill this afternoon. The scoreline flattered the visitors a bit with a dominant first half from Rangers which saw them go in at half time two goals up. The Italians improved a bit after the break but Rangers thoroughly deserved their win over the ninety minutes.
Rangers took the lead on nine minutes, Charlie Lindsay’s free-kick from the left was headed from the penalty at area but only as far as Mackenzie Strachan who’s shot found the net from around twenty yards. On the quarter hour mark Ross McCausland crossed from the right it was headed clear but Charlie Lindsay’s shot from outside the box looked destined for the net until Pasquale Pontillo deflected over.
Another chance soon followed when Jack Harkness crossed from the right but Zak Lovelace headed over. Napoli had show little in the way of an attacking threat but just before the hour Enrico Giannini’s dangerous cross from the left forced Jakob Pazikas to touch wide of his far post. When the resultant corner was cleared to the edge of the box Allessandro Spavone shot over.
Rangers doubled their lead nine minutes before the break, Jack Harkness advanced on the right and exchanged passes with Ross McCausland to hit the byline, Robbie Ure’s flick from the low cross appeared to have crossed the line but Charlie Lindsay followed up to make sure and the goal has been credited to the latter. Barely two minutes later Robbie Ure’s shot from the edge of the box forced a save from Valerio Boffelli diving to his left, the Rangers striker followed up but his second effort rebounded from the keeper’s right hand post.
Half-Time: Rangers 2 - 0 Napoli
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A couple of minutes shy of the hour and the visitors were back in the game Enrico Giannini broke down the left and exchanged passes with Dylan de Pasquale to enter the penalty area and shoot across Jacob Pazikas and into the net. On the sixty fifth minute Gennaro Iaccarino passed to Leonardo Rossi inside the left side of the box with Jacob Pazikas getting a slight touch on the shot to turn the ball wide of the far post.
Two minutes later Rangers restored their two goal lead, the ball was played forward to Robbie Ure and his shot from the edge of the box beat Valerio Boffelli with the aid of a significant deflection. Rangers next chance came when Robbie Ure exchanged passes with Ross McCaulsland on the left hand angle to break into the box but he shot into the side netting.
With five minutes remaining the ball broke for Leonardo Rossi in a challenge with Lewis MacKinnon deep inside the Rangers box and he forced the ball past Jacob Pazikas from close range. There was no threat to either goal in the remainder of the ninety minutes and the six minutes added time as Rangers ran out fully deserved winners.
Full-Time: Rangers 3 - 2 Napoli
Rangers: Jacob Pazikas; Jack Harkness, Lewis MacKinnon, Connor Allan, Robbie Fraser; Mackenzie Strachan; Paul Nsio (Greig Allen 71 Mins), Charlie Lindsay (Bailey Rice 82 Mins); Ross McCausland (James Graham 84 Mins), Robbie Ure (Connor Young 84 Mins), Zak Lovelace (Archie Stevens 71 Mins). Not Used: Sam Kane (Gk), Kelsey Ewan.
Napoli: Valerio Boffelli; Benedetto Barba, Davide Acampa (Lorenzo Russo 79 Mins), Pasquale Pontillo, Luigi D’Avino (Daniels Nosegbe-Susko 69 Mins), Enrico Giannini; Gennaro Iaccarino (Pasquale Marranzino 79 Mins), Francesco Giaielli; Allesandro Spavone (Allesio Lettera 69 Mins), Dylan de Pasquale (Leonardo Rossi 58 Mins); Antonio Pesce. Not Used: Mason Munn (Gk), Claudio Turi (Gk), Daniel Hysaj.
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