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Page last updated at 21:27 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 22:27 UK

Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (0-0)

Rangers win 4-2 on penalties

By Clive Lindsay

Rangers assistant Ally McCoist shows his delight with Brahim Hemdani
Rangers were delighted with their victory in Italy

Ten-man Rangers edged into the Uefa Cup final after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Fiorentina.

The Italians dominated and Sasa Papac cleared Mario Alberto Santana's clever backheel off the goalline.

Adrian Mutu and Christian Vieri also went close, while Steven Whittaker forced a good save at the other end.

Daniel Cousin was sent off in extra time, but the tie ended goalless and Nacho Novo fired the winning penalty after Vieri drove his kick over.

And that took Rangers to their first European final since they lifted the Cup-Winners' Cup in 1972.

The scene had been set for Rangers to follow Dick Advocaat to the City of Manchester Stadium on 14 May, the former Ibrox boss having earlier led Zenit St Petersburg to their first European final with a 5-1 aggregate hammering of Bayern Munich.

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Signs were good for Walter Smith's side at the Stadio Artemio Franchi when veteran Scotland defender David Weir took to the field having recovered from injury.

Barry Ferguson and Kevin Thomson also returned from the suspensions that ruled them out of the first leg to bolster Rangers' midfield.

The Glasgow outfit made a more assured start than they had at Ibrox and it took Fiorentina 19 minutes to threaten.

But the pressure started to build and, when goalkeeper Neil Alexander failed to collect a dangerous Massimo Gobbi cross, Papac was forced into a hasty headed clearance.

Marco Donadel's return from suspension was cut short as he hobbled off, to be replaced with Zdravko Kuzmanovic. Minutes later, his Fiorentina team-mates joined him in the changing room having failed to breach the Rangers defence.

Fiorentina continued to press after the break, Giampaolo Pazzini firing just wide and Tomas Ujfalusi flashing a drive narrowly over.

Rangers forced Sebastien Frey into his first save on 76 minutes, though Steven Davis' prodded effort from 14 yards was easily held by the goalkeeper.

Vieri almost became an instant hero with his first touch after coming on as a substitute but sat on the ball instead of turning it into the net from just three yards out.

Daniel Cousin headbutts Fabio Liverani
Rangers' Cousin lost the plot by aiming a butt at Liverani

Frey pushed away a fine curling effort from Whittaker at full stretch as Rangers threatened on the break, but the Italians held the greater threat as the game went into extra time.

Vieri missed the target with three attempts, while a Kuzmanovic header flew narrowly wide.

Carlos Cuellar sent a powerful header straight at Frey and a Cousin drive looped over the bar.

But Rangers were reduced to 10-men when substitute Cousin, already booked, head-butted Fabio Liverani and received a second yellow card.

Rangers played out the final 10 minutes to take the game to penalties.

And, although Rangers captain Ferguson had his spot-kick saved, Alexander denied Liverani before the veteran Vieri became the villain of a thrilling semi-final.


Fiorentina: Frey, Jorgensen, Gamberini, Ujfalusi, Gobbi, Donadel (Kuzmanovic 42), Liverani, Montolivo, Santana (Semioli 94), Pazzini (Vieri 79), Mutu.
Subs Not Used: Avramov, Dainelli, Osvaldo, Pasqual.

Rangers: Alexander, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Hemdani, Davis (Novo 81), Ferguson, Thomson, Whittaker, Darcheville (Cousin 65).
Subs Not Used: Graeme Smith, Buffel, Boyd, Dailly, Faye.

Sent Off: Cousin (110). Booked: Thomson, Weir, Cousin

Att: 39,130

Ref: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Rangers' Carlos Cuellar 7.17 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
Rangers can be legends
02 May 08 |  Rangers
Smith joy over shoot-out victory
01 May 08 |  Rangers
Uefa Cup photos
01 May 08 |  Europe
Rangers Player Rater
17 Jan 07 |  Live Text
Rangers 0-0 Fiorentina
24 Apr 08 |  Europe


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