Thursday, June 24, 2021

Extra-time needed to separate Fiorentina and Rangers

SoccerNews in Serie A, UEFA Europa League 1 May 2008


Extra-time was needed to separate Fiorentina and Rangers after the pair drew 0-0 following 90 minutes of the UEFA Cup semi-final, second leg here in Italy.

After both managers had promised in the pre-match press conferences that this match would be nothing like last week's bore draw at Ibrox, it seemed as if they had forgotten to mention that to the players.

Rangers set out their stall to defend and did so effectively while Fiorentina had neither the guile nor the explosiveness to break them down.

More than 20 minutes had passed before there was a shot on goal and then three in quick succession from the hosts but Riccardo Montolivo and Adrian Mutu shot straight at Neil Alexander before Montolivo sliced one high and wide.

Some of La Viola's build up play was neat but they didn't look like they would score.

Montolivo broke down the left and crossed for Mario Santana in the box but he was well tracked by Sasa Papac and his flick was hoofed clear by the Bosnian.

Fiorentina fashioned a chance from a clever free-kick routine but Mutu's shot was blocked by the fit-again David Weir.

More intricate build up play saw Giampaolo Pazzini break into the box but his backheel to Mutu was cleared by the disciplined Papac.

Fiorentina stepped up the pressure after the break, possibly following a lambasting from coach Cesare Prandelli.

On 52 minutes the hosts finally created something dangerous as Pazzini nipped in front of his marker to meet Mutu's left wing cross but the young striker volleyed just wide.

A few minutes later Mutu got up to a corner but headed wide and then he fired a free-kick past the post as Fiorentina started turning the screw.

On the hour, Czech captain and centre half Tomas Ujfalusi thrashed a volley just over the bar from Serbian substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic's cross.

The hosts came close again as Alexander spilled a 30-yard strike from Mutu but the goalkeeper gathered it again just before Pazzini could pounce.

The entire second half was being played out in Rangers's half with La Viola's French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey a bored spectator.

He finally had a shot to save when Steven Davis got on the end of a long ball forward, but his poke failed to trouble Frey.

Prandelli threw on veteran striker Crisitian Vieri for Pazzini for the last 10 minutes and he almost had an immediate impact, but he couldn't turn home Alessandro Gamberini's header.

Rangers had a rare chance when Steven Whittaker robbed Massimo Gobbi but Frey was equal to his curling far post effort and substitute Nacho Novo's follow-up was blocked.

By this point Fiorentina seemed to have run out of ideas and extra-time loomed.


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