2008 UEFA Cup final

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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.[3] It was the 37th annual final of the UEFA Cup, UEFA's second tier club football tournament.

2008 UEFA Cup final
Match programme cover
Event2007–08 UEFA Cup
Date14 May 2008
VenueCity of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Man of the MatchAndrey Arshavin (Zenit Saint Petersburg)
RefereePeter Fröjdfeldt (Sweden)
16 °C (61 °F)
43% humidity[2]

The match, which was contested by Zenit Saint Petersburg of Russia and Rangers of Scotland, was won 2–0 by Zenit, with goals from Igor Denisov and Konstantin Zyryanov,[4] 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 went on to play in the 2008 UEFA Super Cup, which they won after beating 2007–08 UEFA Champions League winners Manchester United 2–1.

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.[5][6]



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.[7] 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.

The final pitched former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat, then the manager of Zenit, against incumbent Rangers boss Walter Smith, both of whom had completed the Scottish domestic treble; Smith in 1993, Advocaat in 1999.



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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

Route to the final

Zenit Saint Petersburg Rangers
UEFA Cup Round Champions League
Opponent Result Legs Qualifying phase Opponent Result Legs
  Zlaté Moravce 5–0 2–0 away; 3–0 home Second qualifying round   Zeta 3–0 2–0 home; 1–0 away
  Standard Liège 4–1 3–0 home; 1–1 away Third qualifying round   Red Star Belgrade 1–0 1–0 home; 0–0 away

  Everton 4 4 0 0 9 3 +6 12 1–0 3–1
  Nürnberg 4 2 1 1 7 6 +1 7 0–2 2–1
  Zenit Saint Petersburg 4 1 2 1 6 6 0 5 2–2 1–1
  AZ 4 1 1 2 5 6 −1 4 2–3 1–0
  AEL 4 0 0 4 4 10 −6 0 1–3 2–3
Source: [citation needed]
Group stage

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
  Barcelona 6 4 2 0 12 3 +9 14
  Lyon 6 3 1 2 11 10 +1 10
  Rangers 6 2 1 3 7 9 −2 7
  Stuttgart 6 1 0 5 7 15 −8 3
Source: RSSSF
Opponent Result Legs Final phase Opponent Result Legs
  Villarreal 2–2 (a) 1–0 home; 1–2 away Round of 32   Panathinaikos 1–1 (a) 0–0 home; 1–1 away
  Marseille 3–3 (a) 1–3 away; 2–0 home Round of 16   Werder Bremen 2–1 2–0 home; 0–1 away
  Bayer Leverkusen 4–2 4–1 away; 0–1 home Quarter-finals   Sporting CP 2–0 0–0 home; 2–0 away
  Bayern Munich 5–1 1–1 away; 4–0 home Semi-finals   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.





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.[11]



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".[12]

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.[13]

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


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.[14] 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,[15] and forward Steven Naismith who had sustained a serious injury.[16]


Zenit won the match 2–0 to claim their first UEFA Cup title.


Zenit Saint Petersburg  2–0  Rangers
Denisov   72'
Zyryanov   90+4'
Saint Petersburg[2]
GK 16   Vyacheslav Malafeev   90+2'
RB 22   Aleksandr Anyukov
CB 4   Ivica Križanac
CB 15   Roman Shirokov
LB 11   Radek Šírl
RM 18   Konstantin Zyryanov
CM 44   Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (c)
LM 27   Igor Denisov   72'
RW 20   Viktor Fayzulin   90+3'
LW 10   Andrey Arshavin
CF 9   Fatih Tekke
GK 1   Kamil Čontofalský
DF 5   Kim Dong-jin   90+3'
MF 2   Vladislav Radimov
MF 25   Fernando Ricksen
MF 57   Aleksei Ionov
MF 88   Oleksandr Horshkov
FW 7   Alejandro Domínguez
  Dick Advocaat
GK 13   Neil Alexander
RB 21   Kirk Broadfoot   90+4'
CB 3   David Weir
CB 24   Carlos Cuéllar
LB 5   Saša Papac   77'
DM 7   Brahim Hemdani   80'
CM 6   Barry Ferguson (c)
CM 8   Kevin Thomson
RW 28   Steven Whittaker   86'
LW 35   Steven Davis
CF 19   Jean-Claude Darcheville
GK 16   Graeme Smith
DF 30   Christian Dailly
MF 11   Charlie Adam
MF 39   Amdy Faye
FW 9   Kris Boyd   86'
FW 10   Nacho Novo   77'
FW 27   Lee McCulloch   80'
  Walter Smith

Man of the Match:
Andrey Arshavin (Zenit Saint Petersburg)[17]

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

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.[18][19][20][21]

A Zenit fan was also attacked and stabbed, although it was later established that Rangers supporters were not responsible.[22] Eleven people were convicted of rioting and given prison sentences varying from six months to 3+12 years in September 2010.[23]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e "Full Time Report Final – Zenit Saint Petersburg v Rangers" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 15 May 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 June 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "Line-ups" (PDF). UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 14 May 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  3. ^ Chaplin, Mark (4 October 2006). "Moscow chosen for 2008 final". uefa.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
  4. ^ "Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 Rangers". BBC Sport. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Rangers invasion: your views". BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  6. ^ "175,000-strong Rangers support the biggest in world football". Daily Record. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 17 December 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "UEFA Executive Committee decisions Ljubljana". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 4 October 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  9. ^ "UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Ljubljana". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 27 September 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "'A great opportunity for Manchester'". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 6 December 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  12. ^ Delany, Max (7 May 2008). "50,000 British Fans Coming to Town". The Moscow Times. Sanoma Independent Media. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Fans sought over Uefa Cup rioting". BBC News. 27 January 2009. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  14. ^ Fordyce, Tom (13 May 2008). "Who are Zenit?". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2008.
  15. ^ "Spurs complete signing of Hutton". BBC Sport. 30 January 2008. Archived from the original on 6 March 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  16. ^ "St Johnstone 1–1 Rangers". Daily Record. 21 April 2008. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  17. ^ Ravdin, Eugene (14 May 2008). "Proud Arshavin spent by star turn". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 12 February 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  18. ^ Taylor, Paul (14 May 2008). "Pub Closed After Brawl". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  19. ^ "Violence marrs Uefa showpiece". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 8 July 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008.
  20. ^ "The Uefa Cup Final day in video". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Violence mars Uefa final". Independent Television News. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  22. ^ Bloxham, Andy (15 May 2008). "Man stabbed in Manchester following Glasgow Rangers' Uefa defeat". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  23. ^ Ogden, Mark (3 September 2010). "Rangers fans jailed over Manchester riot following Uefa Cup final defeat". Telegraph.co.uk. London: Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2010.