Thursday, April 10, 2008

Zenit Saint Petersburg, Rangers, Fiorentina, and Bayern Munich all advance to the UEFA Cup semi-finals on Thursday. Zenit was all but assured of their advancement having won their first leg 4-1 over Bayer Leverkusen, but the other three ties were still fully up in the air. Rangers and Sporting had played a scoreless draw at Ibrox, while Bayern Munich drew 1-1 with Getafe at home and Fiorentina tied PSV by the same scoreline.


Bayer Leverkusen were knocked out of the UEFA Cup despite winning 1-0 on the road on Thursday. Dmitri Boulykin scored the goal for German outfit in the 18th minute when he directed the ball into the net from Gonzalo Castro's cross. Leverkusen continued to press for more goals, looking to overturn their 4-1 loss in Germany last week, but couldn't find the net a second time.

Getafe 3 (1)- (1) 3 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich survived two huge scares against 10-man Getafe to advance to the UEFA Cup semi-finals. Ruben de la Red was sent off in the 7th minute for Getafe for a reckless challenge on Miroslav Klose, putting a dent in the Spanish sides chances early. Cosmin Contra, who scored in the first leg, apparently thought otherwise as he cut in from the right side and fired a powerful shot over Oliver Kahn in the 44th minute. Bayern Munich pushed for the equalizer, but couldn't make any headway until the 89th minute when a shot by Toni bounced off a defender and into the path of Frank Ribery, who slotted home. The goal put the scores even on aggregate, and forced the game into extra time. Getafe took the lead only a minute into extra time when Nobrega Braulio cued up a shot for Francisco Casquero, who scored off the post. The provider then turned goal scorer as he turned home Mario Cotelo's, giving Getafe a demanding 3-1 lead. Bayern looked to be going out of the competition as they had trouble breaking Getafe down, but Toni grabbed a goal back in the 115th minute when keeper Pato dropped a cross from Mark van Bommel and the Italian jumped on the loose ball to score. Toni then scored the tying goal in the final minute of play, rising to head in a cross from Jose Ernesto Sosa. The goal put the aggregate score at 4-4, but the away goals rule meant it would be the German side advancing to take on Zenit Saint Petersburg in the semis.

A brace by Adrian Mutu sent Fiorentina safely into the UEFA Cup semi-finals. Danny Koevermans had an early shot for PSV which was saved Sebastien Frey before Giampaolo Pazzini had Fiorentina's first chance, a shot saved by Heurelho Gomes. Mutu scored his first goal in the 38th minute off a free kick, his blasted shot going into the top corner of the net. After the break Mutu doubled the visitors lead in the 54th minute. Pazzini took a shot on goal and Gomes parried the ball away, but the rebound fell to Mutu and the Romanian cleanly finished. Fiorentina came close to a third when Riccardo Montolivo hit the crossbar. PSV then wasted a great chance to get back into the game when they were awarded a penalty when Danko Lazovic was brought down in the area. Simons shot the ball to Frey's right, but the keeper guessed correctly and made the stop. Fiorentina held on for the win, and will now move on to face Rangers.

Sporting Lisbon 0 (0) - (0) 2 Rangers

Scottish club Rangers continued their run in the UEFA Cup after winning 2-0 in Portugal. Jean Claude Darcheville had the opening chance for Rangers as a cross made its way to the striker, but Pereira Gladstone made his way back to black the shot. Sporting's opening chance came when Da Silva Liedson headed a free kick by Leandro Romagnoli against the post. Miguel Veloso then had a chance for Sporting with a long distance shot, but his drive flew just wide of the right post. Rangers scored in the 60th minute through Darcheville as he played the ball out wide, sprinted into the area to receive a return pass, and fired home. Sporting had two chances to pull the tie even before Rangers put the game out of reach. Substitute Steven Whittaker made a run from his own half and fired home his shot in the 90th minute. Rangers will now move on to Italy for the semi-final against Fiorentina.