By Stuart Darroch at Ibrox
AJ Auxerre progressed to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup and eliminated Rangers FC in the process after two goals from Bonaventure Kalou secured a 2-0 Group F win in Glasgow on Matchday 5.
Guy Roux's side maintained French clubs' excellent record at Ibrox with Rangers now failing to overcome visitors from France in their last seven attempts. With the other result in the group conspiring against them, Rangers found themselves knocked out of the competition with Auxerre claiming one of the three qualifying positions.
Rangers knew beforehand they required only a draw to advance but within nine minutes the Glasgow team's plan was in disarray. Auxerre attacked with pace after a Rangers corner-kick routine broke down. Bacary Sagna made progress down the right wing before picking out Kalou coming in behind the home side's defenders. His first shot from seven metres hit the bar, but he was quickest to respond and tapped the rebound into the net.
Roux's players enjoyed long spells of possession inside the opening 20 minutes with Benjani Mwaruwari and Benoît Cheyrou passing up chances to add to their lead. Rangers finally responded after 26 minutes when Dado Pršo's right-wing cross was just missed by Hamed Namouchi only four metres from goal.
Croatian international Pršo was presented with Rangers' best opportunity after 34 minutes when Nacho Novo slipped a ball inside the Auxerre defence. Despite beating two defenders, Pršo could, however, only clip his left-foot shot wide from nine metres.
The Scottish team were left to rue that miss within two minutes of the start of the second half when Auxerre increased their lead. A poor defensive clearance by Rangers right-back Zurab Khizanishvili put his side in trouble and Kalou exploited the opening. The Ivory Coast striker pounced and swept a low, left-footed effort into the bottom corner from eight metres to seal victory.
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