A Night of Shocks in the UEFA Cup

Andrew McNairSenior Writer IApril 4, 2008

In what must go down as a huge shock, Zenit St Petersburg demolished Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 in Germany. Funnily enough, the other shock of the night was also in Germany with a late Getafe goal denting Bayern Munich's hopes of an easy passage into the semi-finals.

In other games, Rangers were held to a goal-less draw at home by Sporting Lisbon with Fiorentina and PSV Eindhoven settling for a 1-1 draw in Italy.

Let's start in Leverkusen where everyone was expecting a win for the home side.

The Russians looked impressive early on and took a deserved lead on 20 minutes thanks to Andrei Arshavin. The visitors pressed on for a second but were caught napping at the back by Bayer's Stefan Kiessling, who equalized for the home side.

The second half was all Zenit as they pushed forward and went on to score three second-half goals through Pavel Pogrebniak, Alexander Anyukov, and Igor Denisov.

The result was probably the best away European result of the season apart from Rangers 3-0 win in Lyon.

It also pretty much guarantees a semi-final spot for Dick Advocaat's men.

In the other quarter final played on German soil last night, the mighty Bayern Munich were expected to walk over small Spanish outfit Getafe.

Luca Toni's first half goal set the ball in motion for the Germans but it wasn't to be their night with one time star in the making Cosmin Contra equalizing in the final minute to give the Spanish side the momentum going into next week's second leg.

I must say I called this game for an upset but even I wasn't expecting Getafe to go into the second leg technically in front.

The Germans were left visibly stunned by the result and will have to pick themselves up as they have it all to do in Spain.

The match at Ibrox between Rangers and Sporting was a highly-charged affair but it wasn't much of a spectacle. Neither side created a clear chance for the entire 90 minutes, with the Rangers players looking dead on their feet late in the game.

The hectic schedule of the Glasgow Giants is clearly catching up with them in their battle for a quadruple trophy season. They have already lifted the Scottish League Cup and are six points clear in the league with a game in hand. With quarter final ties in the Scottish and UEFA Cup's along with two away trips to Celtic still to come, the Gers will have to dig deep.

David Weir will miss the second leg due to suspension and this will leave a huge void in the Rangers defense.

However, the Rangers are not out of it and a single goal in Portugal could be more than enough to go through.

Finally to Florence where Fiorentina welcomed PSV. In a tight affair, PSV will be the happier after walking away level on aggregate and with an away goal to boot.

Viola have it all to do in the second leg after Adrian Mutu's early second half strike was cancelled out by Danny Koeverman's top corner effort.

So with the first legs over and arguably only one game decided, I can't wait for next Thursday, as three sides hit the road looking for impressive away results.


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