RangersRangers 0-0 FiorentinaFiorentina

Rangers side fought out a goalless draw in last night’s UEFA Cup semi-final first-leg, bringing them to within a game of the final.

Fiorentina started well and had the first opportunity at goal when former Chelsea forward Adrian Mutu’s shot straight at Neil Alexander.
Fiorentina’s domination was disappointing the home fans but Jean-Claude Darcheville’s sprint towards goal showed Rangers were dangerous, despite his final ball letting him down.

Darcheville was causing Fiorentina problems, a similar run resulted in him being dragged down by Mario Santana, who was rightfully booked.

Fiorentina controlled the early minutes of the second half, but as Rangers came back into the game, Kirk Broadfoot’s chip for Nacho Novo was just a yard too long.

Alexander in gal for Rangers was forced to save Mutu’s free-kick 15 minutes from time.

But the Ibrox side managed to hold on and will feel confident, based on their away form in the cup, when they go to Florence next week.

Walter Smith:

Walter Smith We go out to Italy with confidence, knowing we can get goals away from home.

We were without a number of midfield players tonight. It was a very tight game, with few clear-cut chances for either side. There were periods when Fiorentina showed their quality in terms of possession, and there were times when we couldn’t match that.

But we worked very hard throughout the match and we now find ourselves in a position we’ve been in before, having to go away from home in Europe with a scoreless draw from the first leg and needing a goal at least to go through. We’ve managed to score goals away quite a number of times, in the Champions League as well as the Uefa Cup.

We had thought it was a bit early this season to do much in Europe, but we’ve proved to be a hard team to beat, and certainly a hard team to score against. That can create a bit of edginess in the home team, knowing that, if they concede, it will make it much more difficult for them.

We’ll take with us to Florence next week the confidence we’ve got from scoring in Stuttgart, Lyon, Athens, and Lisbon. I don’t think anyone would call them easy places, so our confidence has been growing as a result of what we’ve done there.

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