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Teams from great cities - and not so great cities - across Europe battled it out as usual in this season's UEFA Cup.

This year's Final was between Scottish team Glasgow Rangers (who have won 51 league titles, a world record, and have won more major trophies than any other football club in the world) and Russian side St Petersburg.

It was Rangers' first major European final since the 1972 Cup-Winners' Cup Final - which they won - and the first ever major European final for St Petersburg.

Rangers defeated Florence in the last round and St Petersburg surprisingly defeated mighty Bayern Munich. Rangers also recorded great wins against Sporting Lisbon and Werder Bremen in this tournament.

By Clive Lindsay
BBC


UEFA CUP FINAL (At the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester. Attendance: 47,500)


ST PETERSBURG 2-0 GLASGOW RANGERS
Denisov 72, Zyryanov 90.




Zenit St Petersburg were the ones holding the cup aloft in Manchester


Glasgow Rangers fans waving British flags at the start of the game, but they would see their team defeated. Around 120,000 Rangers fans watched the game on big screen in Manchester city centre, with almost another 40,000 inside the City of Manchester Stadium. It may have been the largest gathering of football supporters of one side in history. Because Glasgow in Scotland is only around 200 miles from Manchester, but St Petersburg is about 2000 miles from Manchester, the vast majority of supporters inside the stadium were Rangers fans


Zenit St Petersburg deservedly lifted the Uefa Cup with a two-goal victory over Rangers in Manchester.

The Russians dominated the first half without seriously threatening a packed Rangers defence.
Rangers' Jean-Claude Darcheville forced a good save and a Barry Ferguson snap shot struck the outside of a post.

But Igor Denisov played a one-two with Andrei Arshavin before firing home and Konstatin Zyryanov side-footed in to secure Zenit's first European trophy.

It meant Rangers' dream of repeating their 1972 Cup-Winners' Cup success died at the hands of Zenit coach Dick Advocaat - the man dubbed the Little General during his time in charge at Ibrox.

And the Scottish side's hopes of winning four trophies by the end of the season had faltered at the second hurdle.


St Petersburg celebrate after winning the UEFA Cup for the first time. It was also the first time the Russian team has won any major European tournament.


Rangers had been accused of playing "anti-football" during a miserly run to the final built on a solid defensive foundation.

And manager Walter Smith was not about to disappoint his critics - playing two holding midfielders instead of his usual one.

But there was no negativity among the hordes of Rangers fans who had the City of Manchester Stadium shaking with their now traditional "bouncy, bouncy" antics.

The Zenit fans added to the sea of blue and white and it was their favourites who launched a wave of attacks from the outset.


Arshavin, back in the side after being banned for the semi-final, fired into the side-netting after just four minutes after Brahim Hemdani was caught in possession.

Rangers' Algerian midfielder constantly put his side in trouble by dwelling on the ball.

But he was not the only culprit as Zenit showed their own determination to close down their opponents as they stuck to their Rangers opponents like limpets.

For their part, the Glasgow outfit were limiting Zenit to long range efforts and an Anatoly Tymoschuk drive and an Alexander Anyukov half-volley were easily dealt with by goalkeeper Neil Alexander.


Denisov opened the scoring for Zenit St Petersburg against Rangers


Rangers were relying on the break and, when Darcheville stole into the box, only an excellent interception by Radek Sirl denied Ferguson an opportunity from close range.

Steven Whittaker squandered Rangers only other chance of the first half, heading well over after being found unmarked at the back post by a Steven Davis cross.

There were some appeals for a penalty when a cross struck Kirk Broadfoot in the Rangers box, but the half-time whistle blew without either side making a breakthrough.

Zenit goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev pulled off a fine save with his feet to block a low Darcheville drive as Rangers showed more adventure at the start of the second half.

And, during the goalmouth melee that followed, there were claims for a penalty and Ferguson toe-poked the ball against a post.

Whittaker and Davis had low drives cleared from in front of goal, but Zenit broke clear and Arschavin beat Alexander only to have his chip towards goal headed off the line by Sasa Papac.


The loss of suspended striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, the leading scorer in the competition, appeared to be hampering Zenit.

But the breakthrough was supplied when Denisov at last broke through the centre of the Rangers defence after 72 minutes.

Konstantin Zyrianov struck the outside of the post moments later.

But, after substitute Nacho Novo blasted over for a Rangers side throwing everything into attack, Zyryanov fired home in stoppage time after a Fatih Tekke cutback.


Zenit St Petersburg: Malafeev, Aniukov, Krizanac, Shirokov, Sirl, Tymoschuk, Zyryanov, Denisov, Faitzulin (Kim 90), Tekke, Arshavin.
Subs Not Used: Contofalsky, Radimov, Dominguez, Ricksen, Ionov, Gorshkov.

Glasgow Rangers: Alexander, Broadfoot, Weir, Cuellar, Papac (Novo 77), Hemdani (McCulloch 80), Whittaker (Boyd 86), Ferguson, Thomson, Davis, Darcheville.
Subs Not Used: Graeme Smith, Adam, Dailly, Faye.

Att: 47,500
Ref: Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden)


Zenit St Petersburg fans make their voices heard before kick-off in the Uefa Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium


Glasgow Rangers fans are also out in force, waving Union Jacks, with an estimated 120,000 in Manchester and slightly less taking their seats in the final venue



The Rangers team enter the arena to a barrage of noise with the entire stadium a wall of colour and sound


St Petersburg will start the final as slight favourites having beaten Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the semi-final


The final gets going on a clear May evening in Manchester with Steven Whittaker shielding the ball from Zenit's Roman Shirokov


Konstantin Zyrianov launches a Zenit St Petersburg attack as the Russian side dominate the opening exchanges of the match


Rangers defender Sasa Papac is forced to stretch as Viktor Fayzulin and the Russian side create a number of openings


Rangers have a penalty appeal turned away after a frantic goalmouth scramble as the final springs to life after the half-time interval


Zenit's Andrei Arshavin sees a clear chance headed off the line by Sasa Papac after an error by Neil Alexander in the Rangers goal


A slick move sees the deadlock finally broken as Igor Denisov races through the Rangers defence before slotting the ball home


The 72nd-minute goal sends the Russian section of fans into raptures while the passionate Rangers supporters are left stunned



The frustration is clear on the face of Rangers defender Carlos Cuellar as his side face an uphill task to get back into the final


Konstantin Zyrianov seals the win for the Russian side with an injury-time strike from close-range to kill off any remaining hope for Rangers


Amid a shower of confetti Zenit St Petersburg lift the Uefa Cup after denying Rangers the chance of a unique quadruple


Rangers skipper Barry Ferguson and team-mate Lee McCulloch can only watch as the opposition parade the Uefa Cup