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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Kosanovic blasts Rangers striker
Red Star Belgrade coach Milorad Kosanovic
Milorad Kosanovic's side received seven yellow cards
Champions League: Third round qualifier, second leg
Date: Tuesday, 28 August
Kick off: 1900 BST
Venue: Stadion Crvena Zvezda
Watch: Setanta Sports 1
Listen: BBC Radio Scotland
Updates: BBC Sport website and mobile

Red Star Belgrade coach Milorad Kosanovic has accused Rangers striker Jean-Claude Darcheville of deliberately provoking his players.

Kosanovic was talking ahead of their Champions League second-leg qualifier.

"He showed us in the first leg that some small provocation can be expected in these clashes," said Kosanovic.

"But I know my players will stay calm. Only with a smart and calm performance can we cut the deficit and then strike for the victory."

Red Star had seven players booked during their 1-0 defeat in the first leg at Ibrox a fortnight ago.

And Kosanovic accused Rangers, who had no players cautioned, of provoking his side.

I have never faced any kind of racial abuse

Red Star midfielder Segundo Castillo

"Rangers are a team with a lot of experience and there's no doubt they'll do their best to get to the group stage," he said.

The Serbian side are confident of reaching the group stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history and believe they can overturn Rangers' lead to achieve their aim.

"We can win, we can go through, but only if we stay focused from the first to the last minute," said Kosanovic.

"We are lucky to announce that all our players are ready for this crucial game and I know that the guys on the field will do their best to achieve our goal."

The Marakana Stadium can be a hostile arena for opposition sides.

However, the club have defended themselves against suggestions that racism is part of the unwelcoming atmosphere awaiting Rangers.

DaMarcus Beasley and Darcheville said they were abused during Rangers' clash with FK Zeta in the second qualifying round.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

But their Ecuadorian midfielder, Segundo Castillo, who is himself black, said: "I know there were some talks on that issue, but this is my second year in Serbia and I have never faced any kind of racial abuse, neither in stadiums nor on the streets of Belgrade.

"In fact, I'm enjoying myself here.

"That's a really strange story. Red Star fans are not racist. Look at me, I'm black and those same Red Star supporters voted me as the club's best player last season.

"So I think we should put that aside and focus just on football, as all of us here are just interested in that.

"We are in front of an awesome but also difficult match."

His team-mate and compatriot, Franklin Salas, echoed Castillo's views.

"I came to Red Star this summer because of two things," he said. "This famous club wants to play in the Champions League and, secondly, Castillo praised both the city and the fans.

"I've seen he was right. I was welcomed here like never before and I can see that this club can qualify for the group stages of the Champions League."



SEE ALSO
Rangers 1-0 Red Star Belgrade
14 Aug 07 |  Europe


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