RANGERS progressed to the semi-finals of Al Kass 2019 with an outstanding 7-0 win over Ecoile Sportive du Sahel.
A brace of hatricks from Nathan Young-Coombes and Christopher McKee, plus a strike from Arron Lyall secured the excellent victory over the Tunisian side who had defeated Bayern Munich 3-2 earlier in the tournament
The Gers adopted a positive approach from the first whistle, with Kai Kennedy going close early on, firing a low shot from the edge of the area that keeper Ahmed Slimen only just got his hand to.
Both Kennedy and Nathan Young-Coombes were looking lively, and when Ahmed Guermiti brought the latter down with a challenge that avoided a yellow, it was clear that the ESS backline was struggling to cope.
Rangers were certainly not intimidated by the physical challenge, and right back Harris O’Connor was the first to go into the referee’s book for a similar tackle.
The Gers were beginning to take control, and should have gone ahead on 20 minutes when Arron Lyall showed great close control in the area before pulling the ball back to 15 year old Leon Thomson, whose first time effort rolled narrowly and agonisingly wide.
The ESS defenders were unable to cope with the attacking threat of Young-Coombes, who finally broke the deadlock on 38 minutes, turning on the edge of the area to power home a first-time shot that gave Slimen no chance.
The Light Blues were almost pegged back just before the break when Koussay Rejeb got away down the right, and Lewis Budinauckus had to be alert to rush out of his area and clear the danger.
Straight from the start of the second half, Kennedy battled through a series of challenges to supply Young-Coombes 20 yards out, and the forward lifted the ball over Slimen to double his tally.
A minute later, Rangers put the result beyond doubt when Ciaran Dickson supplied Lyall, who took a touch before firing into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0.
ESS continued to compete, and captain Mohamed Fallah’s powerful run and shot through the middle almost brought a response, only for Budinauckas to tip the ball over.
Any hope of a comeback was swiftly extinguished, as Rangers poured forward once more. Matthew Henderson’s powerful shot was saved and Young-Coombes was first to the rebound to complete his hat-trick.
Gers coach David McCallum then withdrew Young-Coombes for Christopher McKee on the hour mark. However, there was no let up in Rangers’ approach, and they were five goals to the good soon after, when Lyall skipped down the right before crossing low to leave McKee with the simplest of finishes.
With 17 minutes remaining, ESS were reduced to 10 men when Nassim Khadher was dismissed for a foul on McKee’s leg, which was picked up by VAR.
The striker showed no ill effects and soon helped himself to a second – Rangers’ sixth – after Alex Lowry chested the ball down and hammered a half volley which Slimen spilled for McKee to tap home.
There was still time for him to complete his hat-trick, poaching another from close range as Rangers confirmed their victory.
The winners of the Real Madrid and Kashiwa Reysol match on today will face the Gers in the semi-final which takes place on Wednesday 13th February at 1:35pm (UK Time) and will be streamed live on Facebook.
Speaking after the match, Gers coach David McCallum said: “The game was clearly fantastic and the team was very motivated to do well.
“There was a lot of chances and we took all of them. The result was never expected and it was done well.
“I think when we got the second and then the third goal, we started to control the game.”