McCoist frustrated as Rangers draw a blank against Sporting

RANGERS dreams of European glory took a knock when they drew a blank against Sporting Lisbon in their UEFA Cup quarter-final first-leg clash at Ibrox.

“It was very frustrating. We didn’t play well at all,” said Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist.

“We were as poor with the ball as we have been for a long time. But it’s a clean sheet and we are capable of going anywhere in Europe and scoring a goal, as we’ve proved.”

Rangers were forced to defend deep early on but a pacy and powerful run from Jean-Claude Darcheville caused all sorts of problems. The ball broke to Lee McCulloch who failed to cause Rui Patricio much concern in the Sporting goal with a 50-yard strike.

Liedson then had a go at the other end only to be denied by Papac who took no chances by hooking the ball to safety.

With the half-time whistle beckoning, McCulloch had two good chances to hand Rangers the advantage, forcing Patricio to dive low to his right to parry a 35-yard drive before seeing his header deflected inches past the post from a Davis ball into the box.

Davis screwed a shot wide from 25 yards at the start of the second half, before the visitors started to impose themselves. Grimi ran 70 yards before testing Allan McGregor in the Rangers goal. A miskicked effort then bobbled past the Gers defence before shaving the goalkeeper’s left-hand post.

Darcheville maintained his record of never having completed a match for Rangers when he was withdrawn after 71 minutes for Nacho Novo.

Elsewhere Bayer Leverkusen boss Rudi Voeller said Zenit St Petersburg produced a performance more suited to the Champions League after the Russians’ 4-1 win in Germany.

The Russian champions blew the Bundesliga side away with three goals in 12 second-half minutes.

“With a performance like that, St Petersburg are better suited to the Champions League,” said Bayer’s director of sport Voeller.

PSV Eindhoven will be the more satisfied team after an efficient performance frustrated Fiorentina in Florence in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.

Adrian Mutu opened the scoring on 56 minutes before Danny Koevermans bagged what could prove to be the all-important away goal seven minutes later.

Bayern Munich were surprisingly held 1-1 at home to Getafe. Italian international Luca Toni put the Germans ahead on 26 minutes but Cosmin Contra grabbed a vital 90th minute equaliser for Getafe.

RANGERS: McGregor, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Hemdani, Thomson, Davis, Ferguson, McCulloch, Darcheville (Novo 72).

SPORTING: Rui Patricio, Abel, Tonel, Anderson Polga, Grimi, Joao Moutinho, Veloso, Izmailov (Bruno Pereirinha 70), Romagnoli, Liedson, Vukcevic (Djalo 75).

Referee: Yuri Baskakov (Russia).

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