RANGERS DEVELOPMENT SQUAD this afternoon pulled-off a quite stunning victory as they defeated Bayern Munich at their world-class FC Bayern Campus.
After falling behind early-on, Liam Burt equalised before Stephen Kelly grabbed a winner in the second half from the penalty spot.
Make no mistake – the side Gers were up against today are one of Europe’s best academy teams – indeed, they finished top of their UEFA Youth League group.
So there is little doubt the quality Bayern possess in their ranks, but for the opening 10 minutes, they were pinned back by a massively impressive Gers side.
The pressure they were putting on the ball was fabulous, forcing their illustrious opponents into mistakes and turning the ball over time and again.
And with those turnovers came some pretty significant chances. Twice within the opening three minutes, Andy Dallas was released firstly by Liam Burt and then by Stephen Kelly. On the first occasion, he found the arms of goalkeeper Ron Hoffman from around 10-yards out, albeit from an acute angle, before he shot narrowly over from 25-yards out on his second opportunity.
Dallas then had a third chance – with this being his best to date. Burt released him in-behind the Bayern defence, and as he entered the box and readied to pull the trigger, from nowhere came Alexander Nitzel to clear the danger.
It had been such a good start from the visitors, but that positivity was dented as, against the run of play, Bayern took the lead. Some wonderful, interchanging football ended with Manuel Wintzheimer receiving the ball and stroking it beyond Aidan McAdams from just shy of the penalty spot.
It was a blow for Rangers, but they responded well and really should have been level shortly afterwards.
Bayern were playing a high defensive line, and with that came further opportunities for Gers. Burt pounced on halfway to steal a slack square ball, and immediately ran clear on goal.
He looked certain to score, but as he went to beat Hoffman, the goalkeeper got a leg to the ball and managed to clear.
From there, Bayern had the odd half-chance, but Rangers were more than holding their own, and with eight minutes to go before the break, they deservedly pulled level.
Serge Atakayi’s initial cross from almost the by-line on the right was blocked, but the ball came back to him, and this time found the six-yard box.
Hoffman fumbled the ball and it dropped for Liam Burt, and from two yards out, he slid in to bring Billy Kirkwood’s side level.
From there until half-time, it was all Rangers again, and with the last action of the half, they were denied what looked to be a very strong penalty claim.
Matty Shiels streaked forward from his left-back berth and delivered a superb ball into the box. Burt again was there, but his goalbound effort was blocked by what looked to be the hand of a Bayern defender in what was a bit of a scramble.
The referee was perhaps unsighted, and waved away the vociferous protests of the Gers players and staff on the bench.
Into the second half, and again the opening period was totally dominated by Rangers to the extent Bayern spent pretty-much the first 15 minutes of the new period camped inside their own half.
And, again, there were chances which came and went for the Light Blues. Half-time sub Dapo Mebude almost had an immediate impact as he set-up Cammy Palmer for a shot just inside the area, but the midfielder fired over.
Andy Dallas was then released on the right, before he cut inside and, as he went through on Hoffman, he shot high and wide of the target.
At the other end, Aidan McAdams was called-upon to make a stunning save from an Oliver Batista-Meier free-kick, the goalkeeper straining everything to claw the ball away from the top corner.
The action soon swung back to the other end, and having been denied one in the first-half, Rangers were awarded a penalty kick.
With some sublime skill, Serge Atakayi jinked his way into the area and was tripped by Tobias Heiland for a clear foul.
Up-stepped Stephen Kelly, and while Hoffman went the right way, Kelly’s precision was spot-on as he found the bottom-left corner to hand his side a stunning lead.
Bayern were stunned, and time and again were thwarted in their attempts to regain parity, with Gers doing so well to keep them at arms-length with their only real efforts being from distance.
Yes, the Bavarians dominated possession until the end of the game, but Kirkwood’s men time and again turned the ball over and looked a threat on the break.
As time ticked down, Bayern eventually worked a decent opening, with Marin Pudic, all alone six-yards out, somehow firing wide of the target.
RANGERS: McAdams, Houston (Nelson, 88), Bradley, Wilson, Shiels (Gray, 45) Kelly (Mayo, 80) Thomson, Palmer, Atakayi, Dallas, Burt (Mebude, 45).
SUB NOT USED: Muir.
Picture credit: fcbayern.com