2008 UEFA Cup Final

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2008 UEFA Cup Final
2008 UEFA Cup Final programme.jpg
Match programme cover
Event 2007–08 UEFA Cup
Date 14 May 2008
Venue City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Man of the Match Andrei Arshavin (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
Referee Peter Fröjdfeldt (Sweden)
Attendance 43,878
Weather Sunny
16 °C (61 °F)
43% humidity[1]

The 2008 UEFA Cup Final was a football match that took place on 14 May 2008 at the City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England.[2] It was the 37th annual final of the UEFA Cup, UEFA's second tier club football tournament.

The match, which was contested by Zenit Saint Petersburg of Russia and Rangers of Scotland, was billed as a battle between former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat, then the manager of Zenit, and current Rangers boss Walter Smith, both of whom had completed the Scottish domestic treble; Smith in 1993, Advocaat in 1999.

Zenit won the match 2–0 with goals from Igor Denisov and Konstantin Zyryanov,[3] to claim their first UEFA Cup title, making them only the second Russian side to win the competition, after CSKA Moscow in 2004–05.


Zenit and Rangers had never previously met in European competition, although Rangers had played Russian opposition on 10 prior occasions, winning seven – including a 3–2 win over Dynamo Moscow in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup Final – drawing two and losing one. Zenit had never played against Scottish opposition, although they had played in England three times, winning once against Bradford City in the 2000 UEFA Intertoto Cup and losing to Bolton Wanderers in the 2005–06 UEFA Cup and Everton earlier in 2007–08.

Rangers' European record was significantly better than Zenit's going into this match, having reached the final of the Cup Winners' Cup three times – in 1961, 1967 and 1972, winning the last one. By winning the 1972 Cup Winners' Cup, Rangers also played in the 1972 European Super Cup, losing to Ajax of the Netherlands, although this is not considered official by UEFA.

Rangers went into the final four points behind Glasgow rivals Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, albeit with three games left to play, compared to Celtic's one.[4] However, they had already won the League Cup against Dundee United two months earlier and were due to play in the Scottish Cup Final against Queen of the South 10 days after the UEFA Cup final. Because of the difference between the Russian and Scottish football calendars at the time – Russia operated a March–November calendar until 2011 – Zenit had only played six games of their 2008 league season by the time of the UEFA Cup final; however, they had finished the previous season in November 2007 as league winners, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the 2007–08 Russian Cup and beating Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Super Cup in March 2008.

Route to the final[edit]

Zenit Saint Petersburg Rangers
UEFA Cup Round Champions League
Opponent Result Legs Qualifying phase Opponent Result Legs
Slovakia Zlaté Moravce 5–0 2–0 away; 3–0 home Second qualifying round Montenegro Zeta 3–0 2–0 home; 1–0 away
Belgium Standard Liège 4–1 3–0 home; 1–1 away Third qualifying round Serbia Red Star Belgrade 1–0 1–0 home; 0–0 away
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
England Everton 4 4 0 0 9 3 +6 12
Germany Nürnberg 4 2 1 1 7 6 +1 7
Russia Zenit Saint Petersburg 4 1 2 1 6 6 0 5
Netherlands AZ 4 1 1 2 5 6 −1 4
Greece Larissa 4 0 0 4 4 10 −6 0
Group stage
Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Spain Barcelona 6 4 2 0 12 3 +9 14
France Lyon 6 3 1 2 11 10 +1 10
Scotland Rangers 6 2 1 3 7 9 −2 7
Germany Stuttgart 6 1 0 5 7 15 −8 3
Opponent Result Legs Final phase Opponent Result Legs
Spain Villarreal 2–2 (a) 1–0 home; 1–2 away Round of 32 Greece Panathinaikos 1–1 (a) 0–0 home; 1–1 away
France Marseille 3–3 (a) 1–3 away; 2–0 home Round of 16 Germany Werder Bremen 2–1 2–0 home; 0–1 away
Germany Bayer Leverkusen 4–2 4–1 away; 0–1 home Quarter-finals Portugal Sporting CP 2–0 0–0 home; 2–0 away
Germany Bayern Munich 5–1 1–1 away; 4–0 home Semi-finals Italy Fiorentina 0–0 (4–2p) 0–0 home; 0–0 away (aet)

Throughout the season in Europe, Rangers had developed a reputation for being involved in tight games, principally due to their disciplined, defensive tactics which nullified opponents – scoring 16 goals and only conceding 11 in their 18 matches in the two competitions. This approach intensified after dropping into the UEFA Cup, with none of their matches involving more than two goals; there were four 0–0 draws amongst the eight matches. This cautious tactical approach drew both criticism (for the largely unexciting and unattractive football which resulted from the tactics) and praise (for successfully limiting the opportunities created by their opponents, all of whom were considered to have more skillful, dangerous players than Rangers).

Zenit were considered by the clubs of Western Europe to be a more unpredictable opponent (although not an unknown quantity, as they had reached the quarterfinals of the 2005–06 UEFA Cup and had won the 2007 Russian Premier League). In contrast to their opponents in the final, they scored 28 and conceded 15 in their 16 UEFA Cup games, which included impressive wins over Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich by large margins, but also defeats by Everton, Villarreal and Marseille which had seen them close to elimination.



The City of Manchester Stadium was selected as the venue for the 2008 UEFA Cup Final at the October 2006 meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in Ljubljana, Slovenia.[5] Other candidates to host the match included the HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg, Germany; the Stadionul Național in Bucharest, Romania; the Ramat Gan Stadium in Ramat Gan, Israel; and the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, which was awarded the 2009 UEFA Cup Final.[6]

The stadium was initially built as the primary venue for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, hosted in Manchester, but the athletics track was removed when Manchester City moved from their old Maine Road stadium in 2003. The conversion increased the capacity of the stadium from 41,000 for the Commonwealth Games to almost 48,000. In 2005, the stadium was selected as one of the venues for UEFA Women's Euro 2005, played in five towns across north-west England. The only previous major European final held in Manchester was the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final at Old Trafford between Juventus and Milan.[7]

For the past few years, like the Champions League final, each UEFA Cup final was branded with a unique visual identity. The identity of the 2008 final, unveiled at a ceremony at the City of Manchester Stadium on 6 December 2007, was created by Manchester artist Liam Spencer, who is known for his paintings of the Manchester area; the series of paintings produced for the 2008 UEFA Cup Final combines inspiration taken from both the UEFA Cup branding and the City of Manchester Stadium itself.[8]


Former Manchester City player and European Cup winner with Manchester United Denis Law was appointed as ambassador of the final.


UEFA Cup on display at Manchester Town Hall

Zenit and Michel Platini asked the British government to ease visa procedures for Russian fans, despite Russia having cancelled visas for British fans travelling to 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow. However, the Director for British Visa Services for the CIS, Mandy Ivemy, said that "for the U.K. government, visas and biometric checks are a vital part of immigration policy, and we are not prepared to waive them".[9]

Meanwhile, there was a mass flow of Rangers fans into Manchester. An estimated 150,000 Rangers supporters descended upon the city, despite the club's official ticket allocation being just 13,000 and police requests for fans to stay at home. The influx of people resulted in there being no vacant hotel rooms in a twenty-mile radius of the city and the total amount of money that was ploughed into the local economy was estimated to be around £25 million.[10][11][12]

Rangers' home ground, Ibrox, was opened to show a live beamback of the match to approximately 40,000 spectators. Fans queued overnight for a seat in the stadium, and the capacity was reached more than two hours before kick-off.[citation needed]


Team selection[edit]

Zenit were without the competition's top scorer, Pavel Pogrebnyak, who had picked up two bookings in the knockout stages of the tournament and was therefore suspended.[13] However, they were able to call upon their other star names such as attacking midfielders Andrey Arshavin and Konstantin Zyryanov, as well as holding midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk.

Rangers manager Walter Smith started with Jean-Claude Darcheville on his own up-front, with a five-man midfield supporting him comprising Steven Davis, Kevin Thomson, Steven Whittaker, Barry Ferguson and Brahim Hemdani. Neil Alexander was making his tenth start in goal for Rangers following his arrival in January 2008, with first choice keeper Allan McGregor injured. Other notable absentees included right-back Alan Hutton who had transferred to Tottenham Hotspur,[14] and forward Steven Naismith who had sustained a serious injury.[15]


Zenit Saint Petersburg
GK 16 Russia Vyacheslav Malafeev Yellow card 90+2'
RB 22 Russia Aleksandr Anyukov
CB 4 Croatia Ivica Križanac
CB 15 Russia Roman Shirokov
LB 11 Czech Republic Radek Šírl
DM 44 Ukraine Anatoliy Tymoschuk (c)
RM 18 Russia Konstantin Zyryanov
LM 27 Russia Igor Denisov Yellow card 72'
RW 20 Russia Viktor Fayzulin Substituted off 90+3'
LW 10 Russia Andrey Arshavin
CF 9 Turkey Fatih Tekke
GK 1 Slovakia Kamil Čontofalský
DF 5 South Korea Kim Dong-jin Substituted in 90+3'
MF 2 Russia Vladislav Radimov
MF 25 Netherlands Fernando Ricksen
MF 57 Russia Aleksei Ionov
MF 88 Ukraine Olexandr Gorshkov
FW 7 Argentina Alejandro Domínguez
Netherlands Dick Advocaat
Zenit vs Rangers 2008-05-14.svg
GK 13 Scotland Neil Alexander
RB 21 Scotland Kirk Broadfoot Yellow card 90+4'
CB 3 Scotland David Weir
CB 24 Spain Carlos Cuéllar
LB 5 Bosnia and Herzegovina Saša Papac Substituted off 77'
DM 7 Algeria Brahim Hemdani Substituted off 80'
RM 28 Scotland Steven Whittaker Substituted off 86'
CM 6 Scotland Barry Ferguson (c)
CM 8 Scotland Kevin Thomson
LM 35 Northern Ireland Steven Davis
CF 19 France Jean-Claude Darcheville
GK 16 Scotland Graeme Smith
DF 30 Scotland Christian Dailly
MF 11 Scotland Charlie Adam
MF 39 Senegal Amdy Faye
FW 9 Scotland Kris Boyd Substituted in 86'
FW 10 Spain Nacho Novo Substituted in 77'
FW 27 Scotland Lee McCulloch Substituted in 80'
Scotland Walter Smith

Man of the Match:
Russia Andrey Arshavin (Zenit Saint Petersburg)[16]

Assistant referees:
Sweden Stefan Wittberg (Sweden)
Sweden Henrik Andrén (Sweden)
Fourth official:
Sweden Martin Ingvarsson (Sweden)

Match rules

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level
  • Seven named substitutes
  • Maximum of three substitutions


Fan violence[edit]

Police split Zenit and Rangers fans

The event was marred by Rangers supporters rioting in Manchester city centre; these riots started after a big screen that was due to show the match had failed. BBC News 24 interrupted normal programming to broadcast the riots live on television[citation needed] and ITN's flagship News at Ten programme gave extensive coverage to the riots.[17][18][19][20]

A Zenit fan was also attacked and stabbed, although it was later established that Rangers supporters were not responsible.[21] Eleven people were convicted of rioting and given prison sentences varying from six months to three-and-a-half years in September 2010.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Line-ups" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Chaplin, Mark (4 October 2006). "Moscow chosen for 2008 final". uefa.com. Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  3. ^ "Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 Rangers". BBC Sport. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Scottish Premier League 2007-2008 Table on 13.05.2008". statto.com. Statto Organisation. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "UEFA Executive Committee decisions Ljubljana". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 4 October 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Ljubljana". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 27 September 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Saffer, Paul; Tozer, Türker (5 October 2006). "'Terrific news' for host stadiums". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "'A great opportunity for Manchester'". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Delany, Max (7 May 2008). "50,000 British Fans Coming to Town". The Moscow Times. Sanoma Independent Media. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "100,000 Rangers fans invade Manchester" Daily Mail (14 May 2008)
  11. ^ "Fans sought over Uefa Cup rioting". BBC News. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  12. ^ Ladyman, Ian (29 April 2010). "Never again! Police prevent Rangers return to Manchester for Gary Neville testimonial". Mail Online. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  13. ^ Fordyce, Tom (13 May 2008). "Who are Zenit?". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  14. ^ "Spurs complete signing of Hutton". BBC Sport. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  15. ^ "St Johnstone 1–1 Rangers". Daily Record. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  16. ^ Ravdin, Eugene (14 May 2008). "Proud Arshavin spent by star turn". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Taylor, Paul (14 May 2008). "Pub Closed After Brawl". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  18. ^ "Violence marrs Uefa showpiece". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  19. ^ "The Uefa Cup Final day in video". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Violence mars Uefa final". Independent Television News. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  21. ^ Bloxham, Andy (15 May 2008). "Man stabbed in Manchester following Glasgow Rangers' Uefa defeat". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 6 April 2009. 
  22. ^ Ogden, Mark (3 September 2010). "Rangers fans jailed over Manchester riot following Uefa Cup final defeat". Telegraph.co.uk. London: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 

External links[edit]