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RESULT: Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers AET (agg 0-0)
Rangers win 4-2 on penalties


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By Thomas McGuigan

2242: Well, what can you say about that? Rangers were a shell of a team under Paul Le Guen, and Walter Smith has fashioned a side that is rock-solid in defence and possesses a new-found tenacity.

Thanks for your company tonight, Rangers cap a great week for British sides in the Uefa Cup and Champions League.

All roads lead to Manchester and Moscow!

2236: "This takes a bit of beating - it's an emotional night. We were fantastic tonight in how we worked and prevented Fiorentina from scoring."
Rangers manager Walter Smith

2230: I've had to peel my Rangers-supporting colleague from the ceiling! You reckoned Carlos Cuellar (7.17) was man of the match in Florence. You can still cast your vote. Rate the players

2228: "Well done Rangers, I've thoroughly enjoyed watching your Uefa Cup progress."
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2224: Rangers will face Zenit St Petersburg in the Uefa Cup final. Dick Advocaat will go up against his former club in Manchester. What a story, what an end to the game!

2223: FULL-TIME Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (AET, agg 0-0)
Rangers win 4-2 on penalties
Nacho Novo sends Frey the wrong way to score and send Rangers into the Uefa Cup final. Unbelievable scenes in Florence!

2222: Brahim Hemdani makes it 3-2 to Rangers and Christian Vieri sends his penalty high over the bar. Fabio Liverani then misses his spot-kick for Fiorentina, Rangers are within touching distance of the final.

2220: Montilivo puts the Italians 2-1 up, but Papac equalises. It's 2-2. Can Neil Alexander bring Rangers back into it? He can!

2219: Steven Whittaker makes it 1-1 with a cool finish.

2217: Barry Ferguson takes the first penalty and it's saved by Frey. Kuzmanovic makes no mistake from the spot to put Fioretina 1-0 up.

2215: "Fiorentina have had 27 shots tonight and still can't get the ball in the net."
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2213:FULL-TIME IN EXTRA-TIME Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (agg 0-0)
Penalties here we come!

2210: Two minutes of stoppage-time to be played.

2204: "What was Cousin thinking? Losing his head while using it."
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2211: Vieri hooks the ball over the bar from just inside the box. Is this the same game?

2210: Play rages to the other end and Mutu sends his header over from four yards. Heart-stopping stuff, at last!

2209: Novo comes within inches of putting Rangers in front, but that man Frey claws the ball away.

2208: Sebastian Frey isn't great at saving penalties in Football Manager. Could that be a positive sign?

2202: Rangers manager Walter Smith is furious. Cousin has to be ushered off the pitch by the Rangers backroom staff. I wouldn't like to be in the Gabon striker's boots when Smith gets a hold of him.

2159: RED CARD
Daniel Cousin is sent off after clashing with Liverani. It looked like a poor attempt at the famous Glasgow Kiss. Utter madness! Rangers down to 10 men.

2158: Mutu's volley is blocked. Can Rangers hold out for penalties?

2157: Hold onto your hats, the second period of extra-time is under way!

2156: "Daniel Cousin is big enough to cause Fiorentina problems. All he needs is one decent ball."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Craig Paterson

2155: HALF-TIME IN EXTRA-TIME Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (agg 0-0)
Adrian Mutu looks bewildered by it all. Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist gives his charges a few clenched fist salutes.

2152: "Grand theft footie" says one rather uncharitable anonymous texter.

2151: Daniel Cousin's shot is deflected over the bar by Tomas Ujfalusi. I thought that was going in.

2149: Martin Jorgensen whips in a sumptuous cross into the box, but Vieri can't connect and the ball slips wide. I wonder if both managers are pondering their penalty takers already?

2147: With no end to the goal drought in the tie, you reckon Rangers defender Carlos Cuellar (7.17) is the star performer in Florence. Rate the players

2145: Mario Alberto Santana is replaced by Franco Semioli. Both sets of players are looking tired.

2144: "I'm predicting the penalty shoot out will be 0 - 0 as well!"
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2140: Vieri gets away from Cuellar and fizzes a shot just wide of the post. Fiorentina are getting closer...

2139: The first period of extra-time gets under way.

2135:FULL-TIME 90 MINUTES Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (agg 0-0)
Rangers and Fiorentina go into extra-time in their Uefa Cup semi-final second leg.

2134: Mutu tumbles in the box after riding a challenge by Cuellar, but the referee waves away his appeals.

2132: The fourth official holds up the board - two minutes of stoppage-time.

2131: Ferguson deflects Liverani's shot wide for a corner. The danger is cleared.

2130: Cuellar, who endured heartache with Osasuna in the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup last season, clears another Fiorentina attack. He has been magnificent.

2127: Cuellar can't cushion his header back into the Fiorentina box after coming forward like an old-fashioned winger.

2126: Steven Whittaker stings Sebastian Frey's palms with a curling left-foot shot. Corner to Rangers, but Fiorentina clear the danger.

2124: "The old warhorse Vieri is on. In the old days he would have banged them in."
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2122: Steven Davis is replaced by Nacho Novo. Can the combative Spaniard spark Rangers into life?

2121: Vieri falls over the ball from a yard out when it looks easier to score with 11 minutes remaining. Rangers leading a charmed life at the moment.

2120: Cuellar is hoovering up long balls into the box. Little variation in Fiorentina's attacks. Here comes the veteran Christian Veri, on for Giampaolo Pazzini.

2118: Steven Davis spurns a glorious chance for Rangers. The Northern Ireland international's shot is saved when he could have squared it to the unnmarked Steven Whittaker.

2117: Gamberini clears for a throw-in as Rangers embark on a rare foray forward. That's a bit more like it!

2113: Cousin is booked for a challenge on Ujfalusi. Too many stoppages are preventing the game from flowing.

2111: Davie Weir is booked for a foul on Pazzini. Mutu fires in the resulting free-kick and Alexander smothers it at the second attempt.

2110: "Rangers simply can't get the ball. But Fiorentina's final ball into the box is poor."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds

2108: "Former Fiorentina and Rangers hero Lorenzo Amoruso is an interested spectator, but does his heart belong to the Viola?"
BBC Sport's Julian Taylor at the Stadio Artemio Franchi

2106: Cousin comes on for the disappointing Darcheville. Can the Gabon striker follow his Old Firm derby scoring exploits with a precious goal in Florence?

2105: "Daniel Cousin is going to come on for Darcheville. Walter Smith has just given the striker the nod."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Chick Young

2103: Tomas Ujfalusi collects Cuellar's headed clearance and fires the ball just over the bar from inside the box. Rangers need to ease the pressure on their defence.

2102: Still little in the way of enterprise being shown by Rangers. You reckon Carlos Cuellar (7.17) is the pick of the bunch so far. Rate the players

2059: Mutu sends a 20-yard free-kick wide for Fiorentina. I don't think the Romanian striker would get a game for my 5-a-side team!

2058: "Forget the mobile phones. This needs a wee touch of magic from one of the Rangers players."
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2055: The home supporters clear their throats in an attempt to rally their side. Fiorentina win their first corner of the second half.

Weir heads the ball over for another corner. Mutu heads wide with the Rangers defence looking jittery.

2053: Giampaolo Pazzini comes close to breaking the deadlock for the hosts as his flashing drive whistles past Alexander's right-hand post.

2051: Rangers manager Walter Smith must be thinking about bringing on Nacho Novo. The game needs a bit of spark.

2050: Fiorentina's Martin Jorgensen sends a shot high over the bar. Oh dear.

2049: Apparently, when Barry Ferguson was suspended for the first leg he didn't watch the game and switched off his mobile phone too. Wonder what he makes of tonight's fare?

2046: The second half gets under way. Let's hope for something to get the collective pulse racing in Florence.

2045: "Stunning one-touch football from Rangers... They get one touch, then Fiorentina get it back!"
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2043: "It's a 13th yellow card for Kevin Thomson this season and his 6th in Europe."
Radio Scotland presenter Richard Gordon

2042: Re 2025, sigh, well scriptwriter, I suppose that's how the cookie crumbles.

2036: Well, it seems you're not that impressed with the first-half fare - Steven Davis is your top man now on 7.15, the only man above seven. Rate the players

2033: "Rangers will be happy. They haven't conceded a goal and are still in it."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo McLeod

Hopefully, Darcheville will time his runs after the break and put the Fiorentina defence under a bit of pressure.

2031: HALF-TIME Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (agg 0-0)
Rangers haven't tested Sebastian Frey in the Fiorentina goal, but a bit more adventure after the break and who knows?

2028: Darcheville is caught offside for the umpteenth time. Come on, look along the line!

2027: Marco Donadel limps off for Fiorentina and is replaced by Zdravko Kuzmanovic. The game needs a goal.

2025: "Tom: Whats your prediction tonight? If you get it right you get a cookie."
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I think it will finish 1-1 scriptwriter, with Cuellar heading Rangers into the final. If I'm right, can you email me the cookie?

2023: "Every time Gobbi gets on the ball it causes panic in the Rangers defence."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds

2020: Rangers manager Walter Smith cuts a frustrated figure on the sidelines. He's munching on a fair amount of chewing gum - not unlike another Scottish manager at Old Trafford on Tuesday!

2019: Darcheville is flagged offside just as he's about to embark on a Forrest Gump-style run deep into Fiorentina territory.

2017: It's been comfortable so far for Rangers and you reckon Steven Davis (7.89) and Jean-Claude Darcheville (7.44) are the star performers so far. Rate the players

2016: Rangers need a period of possession to calm the nerves. Barry Ferguson has been a virtual spectator so far.

2014: Fiorentina's dangerman Montolivo sends a superb ball into the box, but Sasa Papac lashes the ball away to safety. What's wrong with Adrian Mutu? He looks totally disinterested.

2012: Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson is booked after clattering into Santana.

2011: "Could we have the Little General versus the Silver Fox in the final?"
Radio Scotland commentator John Barnes wonders if the former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat will be pitching his wits against Walter Smith.

2009: Hearts in mouths moment for Rangers. Alexander spills a deep cross, but the danger is cleared.

2008: Adrian Mutu's tame effort trundles through to Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander.

2002: Jean-Claude Darcheville's poor pass brings a threatening Rangers move to an end.

2000: Fifteen minutes gone and Rangers are looking more comfortable. The home fans are quieter too.

1957: "I don't get why Boyd never starts. The guy's one of the best finishers I've seen."
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1954: Much better from Rangers. Steven Davis begins to exert his influence in the middle of the park with a couple of crisp passes - triggering a chorus of boos from the home supporters.

1951: There will be much gnashing of teeth in the Rangers dugout. Little movement off the ball from Walter Smith's charges. A nervy opening.

1950: Carlos Cuellar makes a vital intervention in the box as Rangers struggle to get out of their own half.

1948: Steven Whittaker concedes a free-kick after upending Martin Jorgensen. Neil Alexander comes out confidently and collects safely.

1945: We're off - the game gets under way in a pulsating Stadio Artemio Franchi.

1944: "Rangers would have been happier at the home result. Purely because we have shown that we can play very well on the counter attack, we will only need 2 or 3 sniffs at goal to score tonight."
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1942: "I've never seen so many flags being waved in a stadium. I've lost my calm altogether!"
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Chick Young

1941: Captain Barry Ferguson leads out the Rangers team in their away white shirts. Any butterflies yet?

1937: "Why is Broadfoot playing? He is a liability at right back!"
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1935: Here's a thought for you. Which team would have been the happier at the no-score draw at Ibrox?

Rangers, because they didn't concede a goal at home? Or Fiorentina for keeping it goalless and believing they can do the business at home?

1922: "I think Rangers will score and go through tonight. Ninety minutes away from a European final - they can do it."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo McLeod

1920: Zenit St Petersburg crush Bayern Munich 4-0 (5-1 agg) to book their place in the final in Manchester.

1914: LINE-UPS - Fiorentina: Frey, Jorgensen, Gamberini, Ujfalusi, Gobbi, Donadel, Liverani, Montolivo, Santana, Pazzini, Mutu. Subs: Avramov, Dainelli, Semioli, Osvaldo, Kuzmanovic, Pasqual, Vieri.

Rangers: Alexander, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Hemdani, Davis, Ferguson, Thomson, Whittaker, Darcheville. Subs: Graeme Smith, Buffel, Boyd, Novo, Cousin, Dailly, Faye.

1908: "Tell you what, Zenit look pretty good, lets hope we make to the final and our defence holds out better than Bayern's. I never thought I'd say that!"
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1905: Zenit St Petersburg are thumping Bayern Munich 4-0 to lead 5-1 on aggregate in the second leg of the other semi-final.

The Russian outfit are managed by former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat and boast former player Fernando Ricksen - could this be an added incentive for Rangers in Florence?

1900: Something of a smokescreen from Rangers? Kirk Broadfoot retains his place despite indications he would be dropped in favour of Christian Dailly.

David Weir passes a late fitness test and will take his place in the centre of defence alongside Carlos Cuellar.

1850 BST Here we go. Rangers are within touching distance of their first European final for 36 years.

Walter Smith has guided the Ibrox club to the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup on the back of some dogged defensive displays at Ibrox and a number of superb performances on the road.

After comfortably holding Fiorentina to a goalless draw in the first leg, Rangers are seeking a crucial away goal in Florence as their supporters dream of going all the way to the final in Manchester.

Can Rangers do it?

see also
Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (0-0)
01 May 08 |  Europe
Rangers Player Rater
17 Jan 07 |  Live Text
Uefa Cup photos
01 May 08 |  Europe

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