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Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Saturday, 10 May 2008 14:26 UK

Rangers 3-1 Dundee Utd

By Thomas McGuigan

Nacho Novo opens the scoring
Novo punished United with some razor sharp finishing

Rangers moved to within a point of league leaders Celtic with a game in hand following a controversial victory over Dundee United.

Nacho Novo calmed early Rangers nerves in the seventh minute when he headed home Kevin Thomson's free-kick.

The Spaniard doubled Rangers' lead soon after with a superb volley.

United had a goal wrongly chalked-off for offside and were denied a penalty before Mark De Vries pulled one back. Jean-Claude Darcheville sealed the win.

Rangers knew victory at Ibrox would put them to within one point of league leaders Celtic, while United still had designs on finishing third and clinching a Uefa Cup spot.

Noel Hunt spurned a great chance after five minutes when he headed wide from Michael Kovacevic's cross.

Novo punished United moments later when he headed home Thomson's free-kick with the visitors' defence posted missing.

The Spaniard doubled Rangers' lead after 17 minutes when Cousin knocked on Alexander's punt and Novo outpaced Kovacevic to volley into the far corner.

Kirk Broadfoot wasted a chance to put the hosts three up within half an hour when he danced through the yawning gap in United's defence, but his shot was blocked by Lukasz Zaluska.


In a rare foray forward for United, Robertson saw his goalbound shot headed clear by Broadfoot after goalkeeper Neil Alexander raced out of his area to block Hunt.

De Vries saw his shot from the edge of the box saved by Alexander on the stroke of half-time.

United were denied what appeared a stonewall penalty when Hunt looked to have been clipped by Davie Weir, but referee Mike McCurry waved away the appeals.

Novo spurned a great chance to complete his hat-trick in the 62nd minute when his low shot beat Zaluska but slid past the post.

Dailly struck the post with a shot on the turn in the 65th minute after United failed to clear Novo's corner.

United had a legitimate goal chalked off when Swanson's shot deflected off Weir and the linesman inexplicably flagged for offside.

De Vries brought United back into it with a bullet header that flashed past Alexander from Gomis' deep cross with 14 minutes remaining.

Substitute Darcheville sealed the victory for Rangers in injury-time when he swept home Barry Ferguson's cross.

Rangers: Alexander, Whittaker, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Ferguson, Thomson (Furman 52), Dailly, Novo, Cousin (Darcheville 85). Subs Not Used: Graeme Smith, Boyd, Beasley, Lennon, McMillan.

Booked: Cousin.

Goals: Novo 7, 18, Darcheville 90.

Dundee Utd: Zaluska, Wilkie, Grainger, Kovacevic (O'Brien 90), Dods, Flood (Swanson 66), Kerr, Gomis (Robb 85), Hunt, Robertson, De Vries. Subs Not Used: Camara, Dillon, Daly, Smith.

Booked: Flood, Wilkie, De Vries.

Goals: De Vries 76.

Att: 30,293

Ref: M McCurry

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Rangers' Nacho Novo 9.35 (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
Dundee Utd to complain about ref
10 May 08 |  Dundee Utd

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