Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 22:20 UK

Rangers' cup dream ends in defeat

Rangers fans in Manchester
Thousands of fans packed into Albert Square in Manchester to watch the game

Rangers fans have been left heartbroken after the club's Uefa Cup dream ended in defeat in Manchester.

Their team was beaten 2-0 in the Uefa Cup Final against Zenit St Petersburg.

Up to 100,000 fans were in the city to see Rangers take on the Russians. Zenit scored after 72 minutes and again just before full-time.

Technical problems hit one of the fan zone big screens, forcing several thousand fans to hunt for somewhere to see the match.

Three fan zones with big screens and entertainment had been set up at Albert Square - the open area in front of the town hall - Piccadilly Gardens and Cathedral Gardens.

However, several thousand supporters were unable to get into the fan zones shortly before kick-off because the areas were full up.

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They complained of a lack of communication and claimed they did not know where to go to watch the game.

Technical problems also affected the big screen in the fan zone in Piccadilly Gardens.

Several supporters and officers were injured in clashes between fans and police, when restlessness turned to anger and some threw bottles.

Part of the city centre was sealed off after they spilled out onto the street and riot police with helmets, shields and batons were deployed.

There were 30 arrests, including six men who were held after a Russian fan was stabbed inside the City of Manchester Stadium.

About 25,000 Rangers fans also watched the game at Ibrox Stadium, where the world's largest mobile screen was in place.

Strathclyde Police said 17 arrests were made outside Ibrox for minor disorder offences.

Rangers fans
For many fans it was the biggest game in their lifetimes

The match was Rangers' most important European night since their victory in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1972, when they beat Dynamo Moscow.

Manchester city centre was awash with a sea of blue on Wednesday as thousands of ticketless Rangers fans travelled down to sample the carnival atmosphere.

The game was played at the City of Manchester stadium, which has a capacity of 47,000, but fans of the Ibrox club were been allocated 13,000 official tickets.

About 12,000 Russian fans also made the trip and the event is expected to give a 20m boost to the local economy.

Every hotel room in the city and for up to 20 miles beyond - about 45,000 in total - was booked up.

Many fans were expected to camp, sleep rough or spend the night in their cars.

About 3,000 Rangers fans were camping at Burnage Rugby Club, about four miles outside the city centre.

Fans remaining in Glasgow watched the match beamed back on 100ft screens at Ibrox.

It was full to capacity about two hours before the game.

Fans were asked not to travel to Glasgow Airport for Rangers' return on Thursday as they would not be able to see the team.


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