Rangers' sorry exit after Kalou double Rangers heading

Rangers 0 - Auxerre 2
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The Independent Football

Rangers came into last night's Uefa Cup tie at Ibrox believing that a win would probably put them at the top of their Uefa Cup group. But their home defeat to Auxerre - courtesy of two goals from Bonaventure Kalou - and Graz AK's 2-0 home victory over AZ Alkmaar ensured their exit from the competition.

Rangers fielded the former Auxerre defender Jean-Alain Boumsong in their starting line-up, and Auxerre began with a player who has been linked with a move to Ibrox, the Finland midfielder Teemu Tainio.

After pressing in the first few minutes, the Scots quickly went behind. Dado Prso won a corner in the ninth minute, but Auxerre promptly raced up the field. Kanga Akale got the better of Hamed Namouchi down the right and fed the ball to Benjamin Mwaruwari, whose ball into the penalty area should have been cut out by Zurab Khizanishvili. But the Georgian failed to do so and Kalou took the ball down. Although his first shot came back off the underside of the crossbar, the rebound fell kindly and he was presented with a simple tap-in.

Auxerre began to dominate. But while Kalou was well off target from a distance, Benoit Cheyrou forced a low save from Stefan Klos from similar range.

Prso fluffed a great chance to equalise when Nacho Novo threaded a ball into his path from the left side of a crowded box, only for the Croatian to roll his shot harmlessly wide.

Within two minutes of the restart Kalou had made it 2-0 after a poor header from Khizanishvili allowed Mwaruwari to set him up in front of goal. The Ivory Coast international calmly stroked the ball past Klos.

With Fabian Cool keeping calm and composed in the Auxerre goal, Rangers were not able to find any way back into the game.

Rangers: Klos; Khizanishvili (Hutton, 55), Andrews, Boumsong, Vignal, Namouchi (A Rae, 81), Ricksen, Malcolm, Arveladze, Novo, Prso. Substitutes not used: G Smith (gk), Moore, Mladenovic, Ball, Ross.

Auxerre: Cool; Sagna (Jaures, 81), Bolf, Mignot, Grichting, Violeau, Cheyrou, Tainio (Gonzales, 81), Kalou, Akale, Mwaruwari. Substitutes not used: Chabert (gk), Pieroni, Vandenbosshe, Recorbet, Coulibaly.

Referee: F X Wack (Germany).