UEFA Cup: What a Night for Glasgow Rangers

Andrew McNairSenior Writer IApril 10, 2008

Honestly, I don't know where to start. Rangers have beaten Sporting 2-0 in Lisbon and are through to the semi finals of the UEFA Cup!

Last weeks 0-0 first leg result at Ibrox had left this tie wide open, but it was Rangers who took advantage of some slack Portuguese defending to break the hearts of the young Sporting side.

Rangers drafted in Christain Dailly to replace the suspended David Weir in the only change from last weeks first leg. Sporting also made a change to their defence with centre back Periera Gladstone coming into the line up.

The Gers started the game expertly by holding onto the ball and playing some great football. It must be said, the pitch was perfect for it, but good football hadn't really been Rangers forte this season.

In a tight first half both sides had chances but it was Sporting who came closest, striking Alan McGregor's left hand upright!

50% possession for Rangers was telling in how well they were actually playing. I don't remember a European game at home or away this season when they've had that much of the possession. Rangers were playing well.

The light blues didn't start the second half so well however and were penned into their own half for the first 15 minutes. Crucially, Sporting were unable too nick the goal they needed.

Just when it looked like Rangers had decided to sit in for the evening, a long ball bounced over the top of the Sporting defence. Jean Claude Darcheville headed down for Steven Davis who in turn played it back, square across the goal to the Frenchman, who calmly slotted Rangers into the lead!

Rangers were in dreamland! I simply couldn't believe it.

Sporting now needed two goals in the final half hour to topple the men from Glasgow!

Sporting threw the kitchen sink at Rangers and to be honest, came really close on numerous occasions to that equalizing goal. Funnily enough though, Rangers remained calm throughout, just like a team that new their fate.

That fate was well and truly decided in the final minute. Shortly after the Rangers sub Daniel Cousin had a good chance saved, fellow substitute Steven Whittaker won the ball just inside his own half and ran at the Sporting defence.

The young Scot just ran and ran before using Cousins run as a decoy to slip past the last defender and slot home what must surely go down as one of Rangers all time great European goals.

Rangers were in the semi finals!

We have a few problems for the next round as Captain Barry Ferguson picked up a needless booking and will miss the first leg of the semi final at Ibrox. He will be joined on the sidelines by the excellent Kevin Thomson, who also picked up his second yellow card of the latter stages.

Those though are thoughts for another day, Rangers are through!

Apart from Lyon (3-0 win away) earlier this season I don't remember a day when I was more proud of my beloved Glasgow Rangers.

We were class tonight and fully deserved to go through.

In the game Rangers would have been keeping a close eye on, Fiorentina dumped PSV out of the UEFA Cup 2-0 in Eindhoven, with two goals from Adrian Mutu.

Zenit St Petersburg crashed to a 1-0 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen. The Russians though still comfortably progressed 4-2 on aggregate.

So Rangers have semi final UEFA Cup action at Ibrox for the first time in 36 years, They welcome Italians Fiorentina to Scotland for the first leg but Rangers surely fear nothing now.

In the immortal words of any true Glaswegian... Mon Then!!!


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