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Fiorentina vs Rangers Thursday 1st May 2008 - Semi Final - Second leg - UEFA Cup.


Rangers started with confidence and Fiorentina were a bit flat. After 15 minutes you had this feeling that Fiorentina were just not good enough to break us down. The match ebbed and flowed with few clear cut chances. Rangers were defending well but creating little. Fiorentina looked good up until the last third where they could manage very little. Cuellar and Weir again were outstanding. Our midfield was working hard and helping out the defence and Fiorentina flattered to deceive. Suddenly it was half time and we had survived fairly easily the first half.

The second half was a mirror of the first half although we pushed up a little about the 65th minute as Walter first introduced Cousin for JCD and later Novo for Davis.

Fiorentina made a push to win the game, but again few clear chances were created. It was becoming noticeable though that every time Cousin went up for a high ball the referee punished him with a foul. The game ended after 90 minutes tied with no scoring.

Rangers were surviving.

In extra time the game was a bit more open and Rangers had a few shots at goal through Whittaker who brought out a great save from Fiorentina's French goalkeeper.

Nevertheless goals looked very hard to come by with both defences dominant.

Suddenly with a few minutes to go D. Cousin, who had already been yellow carded, got into a tussle with a Fiorentina defender. It looked like a foul against Fiorentina to me, but the referee again awarded it to Fiorentina. A very frustrated D. Cousin squared up to the Italian player and appeared to head butt him. The referee again yellow carded Cousin and he had to go. He should have known better and his reaction was poor as it left Rangers with 10 men with several minutes to play. Nevertheless Rangers stood firm and we now looked forward very nervously to a penalty kick shoot out.

The shoot-out:

First up was B. Ferguson who seemed a little nervous. He struck his penalty fairly well but their goalkeeper made a great save diving to his right.

The Italians then scored with a solid kick that beat Alexander to his right.

Next up was S. Whittaker and a beautiful streaking penalty made it 1-1.

Again the Italians scored.

Next up it was S. Papac and I was really nervous. No bother an immaculately taken penalty evened things at 2-2

Then it was the turn of the Italian captain. He aimed to Alexander's bottom left corner. His aim was true, but Alexander brought off a magnificent save.

Next up was Hemdani and again we were all nervous as he had missed one not long ago. Again like Papac he was immaculate and suddenly we were AHEAD.

The Italian stallion C. Vieri was up next. He took a stutter step and then stuttered sending a rising shot over the bar. This was magic!

Next up Novo for a place in the final. No bother the wee man - AND WE ALL GO TO MANCHESTER!!

Today’s team: -

Alexander: - Great penalty save and good game.

Rmed Verdict: -9 + Penalty award of 1

Broadfoot: - Struggled at times but never gave in.

Rmed Verdict: - 8

Cuellar: - Magnificent (MOTM- SHARED)

Rmed Verdict: - 10

Weir: - Magnificent

Rmed Verdict: - 10 (MOTM- SHARED)

Papac: - Excellent again.

Rmed Verdict: - 9 + Penalty award of 1.

Thomson: - Never stopped running - silly to get booked yet again.

Rmed Verdict: - 9

Bazza: - Captains influence told.

Rmed Verdict: - 9

Hemdani: - Never stopped trying, but a bit off the pace at times.

Rmed Verdict: - 8 + Penalty award of 1

Davis: - Never stopped trying.

Rmed Verdict: - 8

Whittaker: - See Davis

Rmed Verdict: - 8 + Penalty award of 1

JCD - See Davis

Rmed Verdict: - 8

Cousin (On for JCD): - Tried hard but let himself and team down badly after getting frustrated with referee and Italians.

Rmed Verdict: - 2

Novo (On for Davis): - Worked tirelessly as usual. Played well.

Rmed Verdict: - 6 + Penalty award of 1.

Smith: - What can you say - GENIUS!! Lets just give him a 10. Cant give any more!!

A great night for the club and the fans. Way beyond anything we could imagine after PLG. Given the basic football skills of this team, this is a miracle of management and team spirit. No guts no glory - well we have it in abundance.

Words cannot truly describe how a team lacking in as many qualities as this one can have come so far in one season. The never say die spirit is just amazing.

Walter and his team deserve so much praise as do all the players. They have given much more than their all. Simply magnificent.



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Nice report although i think a 2 for cousin was harsh. didnt do alot wrong , made some good challenges and the ref wrongly went against him a few times. Caused Fio problems, got a few shots away.

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Looking forward to seeing the papers rating tomorrow. I completly agree on Cuellar and Wei getting 10 out of 10. I cannot remember ever thinking a player should get a 10, let alone two in the same game.

Amazing. What a night, what a game, what a flipping event!

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