Rangers held by Sporting

Frustrating night for Rangers in Uefa Cup

Rangers endured a frustrating night at Ibrox as they were held to a goalless draw by Sporting Lisbon in the Uefa Cup.

It was a disappointing display from the Light Blues who showed plenty of determination but lacked a cutting edge in this quarter-final first leg tie.

Midfielder Lee McCulloch had Rangers' only chance in a dour first-half when he forced Rui Patricio to palm the ball for a corner.

Walter Smith's side improved after the break and enjoyed plenty of possession without creating any openings, while Sporting always looked a threat on the break.

Rangers now face the daunting task of travelling to Lisbon next week hoping to seal a meeting with Fiorentina or PSV Eindhoven in the semi-finals, as they attempt to maintain an impressive bid for four trophies this season.


There was concern for Sporting in the opening minutes when David Weir accidentally stamped on Liedson's Achilles and the Brazilian left the pitch on a stretcher - but the club's star man was back in action within two minutes.

Rangers were forced to defend deep early on but a powerful run from Jean-Claude Darcheville resulted in the ball falling to McCulloch who fired well wide from 25 yards.

Barry Ferguson picked up the first booking of the game for an innocuous-looking challenge on fellow skipper Joao Moutinho. Like Liedson, he was also carried off only to make a quick recovery.

Team-mate Marat Izmailov was cautioned moments later for a foul on Ferguson and was fortunate not to pick up a red card later in the half for a clumsy high tackle on Kevin Thomson.

Kirk Broadfoot then earned a free-kick for Rangers a few yards outside the area after being hacked down by Leandro Grimi. The set-piece was taken quickly by Ferguson, who slipped the ball through to Steven Davis - but his shot was blocked by Grimi.

Inches wide

With the half-time whistle beckoning, McCulloch had two good chances to hand Rangers the advantage, firstly 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 on the game more.

Grimi collected from Liedson before being allowed to embark on a run of all of 70 yards before testing Allan McGregor in the Rangers goal. A miskicked effort then bobbled past the Rangers defence before shaving the goalkeeper's left-hand post.

Darcheville maintained his record of never having completed a full match for Rangers when he was withdrawn after 71 minutes to make way for Nacho Novo, but the Spaniard found it difficult to get into the match.

Pushed forward

Rangers pushed forward in search of a winner and Ferguson was not far away when he hooked over his shoulder and just wide.

Leandro Romagnoli and Liedson came close in the dying minutes for Sporting - but the clash ended all square, leaving both teams with everything to play for in the second leg next Thursday.

To add to a disappointing night Rangers had veteran Weir booked late on and he will miss next week's second leg in Lisbon.