Three things we learned as Atletico knock spirited Gers out of UEFA Youth League
Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images

Three things we learned as Atletico Madrid defeat young Rangers

Atletico Madrid ran out 4-0 winners in a one-legged tie at Firhill on Wednesday afternoon, knocking Rangers out of the UEFA Youth League.

Here are three things we learned from the contest.

Kennedy the standout for Gers

Kai Kennedy wasn’t the only player on display to have represented the Rangers first team, but he certainly stood out from the rest this afternoon.

Each time the Gers ventured forward, Kennedy tended to be at the heart of things. The 17-year-old looked the most at ease with the ball at his feet, with his first instinct always to go forward.


Reasonably small in stature but full of pace and trickery, he gave the visiting defence the most headaches. From set-pieces, his deliveries regularly threatened, while his tidy touches and feints impressed in and around the area.

Kennedy impressed for Rangers against Atletico Madrid. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Work still to be done for Murty and co.

Rangers often find themselves dominating domestic youth fixtures, but this afternoon was a reminder that there’s more work to be done to reach top European standard.

The Young Gers weren’t played off the park and they had their fair share of possession, but Atletico looked more at ease on the ball from back to front.

Mario Soriano and Rodrigo Riquelme particularly impressed for the visitors, and as a collective, there were fewer stray passes, particularly in the first half, to go with greater cohesion in attack. Rangers tried to play the right way and did create openings, but were second best on the day.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Set pieces prove key

For all the nice football they played, Atletico took the lead from a corner, while the Gers let set-piece opportunities slip by.

The first big chance of the game came from a clever free-kick routine when Kennedy picked out Rhys Breen unmarked around six yards out. He was unable t0 get enough purchase on his header, though, and opposition keeper Baeza kept it out with a strong save diving to his left.

Just a few minutes later, Gers stopper Lewis Budinauckas got caught underneath an inswinging corner and the Gers fell behind.

Breen had a more difficult chance before the break which he headed just wide, and despite a host of free-kick opportunities in the second period, the Young Gers couldn’t find a way past Baeza. Forced to open up in search of a route back into the game, the hosts were then picked apart on the counter.

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