Manager Alfred Schreuder had several changes in store for the final group fixture at this highest European level. Owen Wijndal took Daley Blind's place in the starting line-up, for instance, and Mohammed Kudus was at the kick-off in place of the injured Brian Brobbey.
The Amsterdam team got off to an dynamic start. Wijndal delivered an excellent pass from the left wing in the fourth minute, after which Kudus cleverly pinged the ball back to Berghuis, who somehow managed to get it into the net: 1-0. Ajax maintained the upper hand, until Rangers suddenly woke up around ten minutes in. A magnificent Scottish attack looked like it would be successful, but Bassey just managed to neutralise the danger.
Ajax took matters back into their own hands, doubling their lead in the 29th minute. Again the cross came from the left wing, where Tadic found Wijndal. The left back, an arrival from AZ just this season, set it up for Kudus, who left the Rangers keeper high and dry via a deflection of a Scottish players head: 2-0.
One heavy downer on an otherwise great first half was the injured Wijndal carried off the pitch. Devyne Rensch went on as substitute.
In the second half play was initially a bit sloppy on the Ajax side. Even so, ten minutes later saw 3-0 up on the board following another fine attack from the left, this time via Rensch. He found Kudus, who looked like he was about to score for the second time that evening. But it wasn't to be, the VAR disallowing the goal for offside.
Ajax were caught napping, and in the seventieth minute Remko Pasveer had to tap the ball over the crossbar to avoid giving a goal away. This the keeper did with aplomb.
Penalty to Rangers
Rangers sensed their chance since Ajax were playing so sluggishly. First Pasveer almost let one in when he took too long over a goal kick. He shot straight at Morelos, who then shot just wide. He had to scramble yet again four minutes before the whistle. Álvarez gave away a penalty and Tavernier delivered: 2-1.
Substitute worth his weight in gold
However, the goal difference widened back to two once more when Francisco Conceiçao immediately earned his last-minute substitution with a magnificent goal: 3-1. The draw for the next round in the Europa League follows Monday.
Rangers FC – Ajax 1-3 (0-2)
4. Berghuis 0-1
29. Kudus 0-2
87. Tavernier (p) 1-2
89. Conceiçao 1-3
Ajax: Pasveer; Sánchez, Timber, Bassey, Wijndal (44. Rensch); Álvarez, Taylor (87. Grillitsch), Berghuis (55. Klaassen); Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn (87. Conceiçao)