Fiorentina earn draw at Rangers
Rangers and visiting Fiorentina Thursday drew 0- 0 in a first-leg semi-final of the UEFA Cup that failed to entertain the crowd at Glasgow's Ibrox Park, the dpa reported.
Several injuries coupled with the suspension of midfielders Barry Ferguson and Kevin Thomson forced Rangers to play a largely defensive game allowing Fiorentina to hold them in their midfield through most of the first half.
The Florence side's dominance, however, only yielded two harmless drives from Adrian Mutu and Martin Jorgensen on 12 and 25 minutes.
No telling efforts came from Fiorentina's striker Giampaolo Pazzini, who failed to pose any serious threat as he sought his first goal in the tournament.
The guests' single telling action before the break brought the signature of their single striker Jean-Claude Darcheville, who displayed his speed storming on the left flank but fired a feeble drive into the arms of French compatriot Sebastien Frey.
Home custodian Neil Alexander blocked a piercing spurt from Alberto Santana on 40 minutes as the Argentinian tried to flick home an assist from a lacklustre Mutu.
The tactics did not change in the second half, although Rangers had more room to manoeuvre as Fiorentina lost some of their grit.
Spaniard Nacho Novo fired wide to Frey's left on 58 minutes before being replaced as supporting striker by Thomas Buffel, while Alexander five minutes later punched away a tricky shot from Riccardo Montolivo after a deflection from a defender.
Alexander was busy again on 75 minutes as a Mutu free kick found the goalkeeper well positioned to block his shot.
Veteran Christian Vieri replaced Pazzini with 10 minutes left to play his 75th game in European competitions, but only managed to try a free kick that met the back of a defender.