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Wanted: Rangers FC. Crime: Killing a Perfectly Good Football Match

201540_hp.jpgToday in Glasgow, Rangers FC and Fiorentina drew nil-nil in the first leg of their UEFA Cup match. Fiorentina did the best they could, considering they were on the road. They launched a number of attacks (of various levels of effectiveness) and generally dominated possession. Rangers, however, (who, as the FSC announcers were constantly reminding us, were hit by the injury bug) sat 10 or 11 men behind the ball and defended the hell out of everything. They looked occasionally dangerous on the counter, but generally Rangers were playing for the nil draw. Mission accomplished, guys.

I do not have my usual match report this week. Normally I take careful notes of each game Fiorentina play, but the 2:30pm start time (here in the states) combined with the importance of the match, led me to watch the game online while at work. I’m glad I saw it live, but when you do that you can’t take much in the way of notes.

Aside from the aesthetics of the game, I have mixed feelings. Obviously a nil-draw is not the worst thing in the world when your team is on the road, but I really, really wanted an away goal. Fiorentina had their chances (their best was probably Mutu’s free kick in the 2nd half, from a spot close to where he scored in the second leg of the PSV match) but they could never put the ball in the net.

I am especially wary because of the smackdown the Viola laid down on PSV in the away leg. Even a fluke away goal will cost the Viola dear next week, so Fiorentina must play flawless defense while getting a goal to win the game. There’s no question that the Viola play better at home, and I do believe they now hold the advantage, but I can guarantee you that I will spend the next seven days worrying about nothing but away goals.

I’ll have more reaction from the match tomorrow, but for tonight I go to bed with mixed feelings; satisfaction with the draw combined with worry over the lack of an away goal. Mostly, however, I’m just a little ticked that a game I’ve looked forward to all week turned into such a slog. Thanks, Rangers.

One last thing: I checked the to see what the Rangers’ blogger had to say about the match before I realized: we don’t have one. C’mon, guys. We don’t have one Rangers’ fan who wants to write about their team?

I’ll be back tomorrow.