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
Date14 May 2008
Venue City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Man of the Match Andrey Arshavin (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
Referee Peter Fröjdfeldt (Sweden)
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 [ by whom? ] as a battle between former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat, then the manager of Zenit, and incumbent 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.

The fixture is notable for having the largest travelling support in football history, with close to 200,000 Rangers fans travelling to Manchester for the occasion. [4] [5]


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. [6] 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

Zenit Saint PetersburgRangers
UEFA CupRoundChampions League
OpponentResultLegsQualifying phaseOpponentResultLegs
Flag of Slovakia.svg Zlaté Moravce 5–02–0 away; 3–0 homeSecond qualifying round Flag of Montenegro.svg Zeta 3–02–0 home; 1–0 away
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Standard Liège 4–13–0 home; 1–1 awayThird qualifying round Flag of Serbia (2004-2010).svg Red Star Belgrade 1–01–0 home; 0–0 away
Flag of England.svg Everton 440093+612 1–0 3–1
Flag of Germany.svg Nürnberg 421176+17 0–2 2–1
Flag of Russia.svg Zenit Saint Petersburg 41216605 2–2 1–1
Flag of the Netherlands.svg AZ 41125614 2–3 1–0
Flag of Greece.svg AEL 400441060 1–3 2–3
Source: [ citation needed ]
Group stage
Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona 6420123+914
Flag of France (lighter variant).svg Lyon 63121110+110
Flag of Scotland.svg Rangers 62137927
Flag of Germany.svg Stuttgart 610571583
Source: RSSSF
OpponentResultLegs Final phase OpponentResultLegs
Flag of Spain.svg Villarreal 2–2 (a)1–0 home; 1–2 awayRound of 32 Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos 1–1 (a)0–0 home; 1–1 away
Flag of France.svg Marseille 3–3 (a)1–3 away; 2–0 homeRound of 16 Flag of Germany.svg Werder Bremen 2–12–0 home; 0–1 away
Flag of Germany.svg Bayer Leverkusen 4–24–1 away; 0–1 homeQuarter-finals Flag of Portugal.svg Sporting CP 2–00–0 home; 2–0 away
Flag of Germany.svg Bayern Munich 5–11–1 away; 4–0 homeSemi-finals Flag of Italy.svg 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. [7] 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. [8]

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. [9]

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. [10]


European Cup winner and Manchester United legend Denis Law, who also played for Manchester City was appointed as ambassador of the final.


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". [11]

Meanwhile, there was a mass flow of Rangers fans into Manchester. An estimated 150,000-200,000 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. [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 ]


Zenit won the match 2-0 to claim their first UEFA Cup title. Zenit celebrating 2008 UEFA Cup Final win.png
Zenit won the match 2–0 to claim their first UEFA Cup title.

Team selection

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 Tymoshchuk.

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 Flag of Russia.svg 2–0 Flag of Scotland.svg Rangers
Denisov Soccerball shade.svg72'
Zyryanov Soccerball shade.svg90+4'
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body aek0708T.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks long.svg
Saint Petersburg
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body Rangers 0708.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks long.svg
GK16 Flag of Russia.svg Vyacheslav Malafeev Yellow card.svg 90+2'
RB22 Flag of Russia.svg Aleksandr Anyukov
CB4 Flag of Croatia.svg Ivica Križanac
CB15 Flag of Russia.svg Roman Shirokov
LB11 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Radek Šírl
RM18 Flag of Russia.svg Konstantin Zyryanov
CM44 Flag of Ukraine.svg Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (c)
LM27 Flag of Russia.svg Igor Denisov Yellow card.svg 72'
RW20 Flag of Russia.svg Viktor Fayzulin Sub off.svg 90+3'
LW10 Flag of Russia.svg Andrey Arshavin
CF9 Flag of Turkey.svg Fatih Tekke
GK1 Flag of Slovakia.svg Kamil Čontofalský
DF5 Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg Kim Dong-jin Sub on.svg 90+3'
MF2 Flag of Russia.svg Vladislav Radimov
MF25 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Fernando Ricksen
MF57 Flag of Russia.svg Aleksei Ionov
MF88 Flag of Ukraine.svg Oleksandr Horshkov
FW7 Flag of Argentina.svg Alejandro Domínguez
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Dick Advocaat
Zenit vs Rangers 2008-05-14.svg
GK13 Flag of Scotland.svg Neil Alexander
RB21 Flag of Scotland.svg Kirk Broadfoot Yellow card.svg 90+4'
CB3 Flag of Scotland.svg David Weir
CB24 Flag of Spain.svg Carlos Cuéllar
LB5 Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Saša Papac Sub off.svg 77'
DM7 Flag of Algeria.svg Brahim Hemdani Sub off.svg 80'
CM6 Flag of Scotland.svg Barry Ferguson (c)
CM8 Flag of Scotland.svg Kevin Thomson
RW28 Flag of Scotland.svg Steven Whittaker Sub off.svg 86'
LW35 Ulster Banner.svg Steven Davis
CF19 Flag of France.svg Jean-Claude Darcheville
GK16 Flag of Scotland.svg Graeme Smith
DF30 Flag of Scotland.svg Christian Dailly
MF11 Flag of Scotland.svg Charlie Adam
MF39 Flag of Senegal.svg Amdy Faye
FW9 Flag of Scotland.svg Kris Boyd Sub on.svg 86'
FW10 Flag of Spain.svg Nacho Novo Sub on.svg 77'
FW27 Flag of Scotland.svg Lee McCulloch Sub on.svg 80'
Flag of Scotland.svg Walter Smith

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

Assistant referees:
Flag of Sweden.svg Stefan Wittberg (Sweden)
Flag of Sweden.svg Henrik Andrén (Sweden)
Fourth official:
Flag of Sweden.svg 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

Police split Zenit and Rangers fans Piccadilly Police split Zenit and Rangers.jpg
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

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