Gers take big step

RANGERS captain Barry Ferguson insists his players can cope without him in the UEFA Cup semi-final first leg after he picked up a silly booking in the Gers victory over Sporting Lisbon.

Jean-Claude Darcheville fired Rangers another step closer to the final by setting the ball rolling in last night’s win en route to a 2-0 win on the night, the same score on aggregate.

Substitute Steven Whittaker then helped himself to a goal of his own deep into injury time to provide the perfect end to a memorable clash.

The 2-0 aggregate win means Rangers will appear in the last four of the competition for the first time when they face Fiorentina, who defeated PSV Eindhoven.

Asked about the superb counter-attacking performance, Ferguson said: “That’s what we’ve done for most of the season.

“I thought tonight we were exceptional, from the front to the back, the team did a great job.”

As for his booking, Ferguson said: “It’s disappointing.

“I don’t know what I was doing, I was just trying to waste time. But we have a good enough and big enough squad to cope without me and Kevin (Thomson, also now suspended).”

Darcheville added: “I’m very happy. Tonight I think the qualification for the team is more important.”

SPORTING: Rui Patricio, Abel, Gladstone (Bruno Pereirinha 69), Tonel, Grimi (Tiui 76), Joao Moutinho, Veloso, Romagnoli, Izmailov (Djalo 62), Liedson, Vukcevic. RANGERS: McGregor, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Dailly, Papac, Hemdani, Davis, Ferguson, Thomson, McCulloch (Whittaker 77), Darcheville (Cousin 72).

Ref: Konrad Plautz (Austria).

UEFA CUP RESULTS:

PSV Eindhoven 0 Fiorentina 2 (Fiorentina win 3-1 on aggregate). Zenit St Petersburg 0 Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Zenit win 4-2 on aggregate), Getafe 3 Bayern Munich 3 (4-4 on aggregate Bayern win on away goals).

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