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Dramatic finale to Group F race

Published: Thursday 16 December 2004, 13.57CET
Group F: AJ Auxerre and Grazer AK grabbed the final qualifying places as Rangers FC's dreams ended.
 
 
Published: Thursday 16 December 2004, 13.57CET

Dramatic finale to Group F race

Group F: AJ Auxerre and Grazer AK grabbed the final qualifying places as Rangers FC's dreams ended.

A night of starkly contrasting emotions in Group F. It began with Rangers FC, AJ Auxerre and Grazer AK chasing the two remaining places behind already-qualified AZ Alkmaar, and ended with Auxerre and GAK claiming them. That outcome left everyone connected with Auxerre and GAK delighted, but Rangers manager Alex McLeish was down - and very much out.

We shot ourselves in the foot with the start we made to the game. To give away a goal like that is difficult to comprehend. It was two early Christmas presents for Auxerre and it flattened our team. We still created chances after the first goal, but the problem was that we were still a goal behind. At half-time I thought we should have been level with the number of chances we had. Overall, we blew the chance, blew the opportunity tonight. We let the Rangers fans down. It was in our own hands. You will not progress if you give away goals like that. I think we should have had enough to get through this group. But you cannot progress if you make the errors we made. It was elementary stuff. Rangers manager Alex McLeish

I did not think it would be easy, but it was made easier by the first goal. After that we took control and had to make sure they did not score. We heard the scores from Austria, so we knew we had to win tonight and I think we deserved to win - especially as it was in front of 50,000 people. My players stood their ground. I do not think there was a big difference technically between the teams, but it is up to the home side to set the tone of the match. It is a very good place to play. I didn't think we would finish second in the group. I have been told it is the worst place, but we will see. Auxerre manager Guy Roux

I really have to congratulate my team. They did what I told them to do and played a perfect tactical game. I don't care who's next, although hopefully it won't be [FC Dnipro] Dnipropetrovsk. GAK coach Walter Schachner

We gave everything. We didn't want to lose and we deserve this victory. It is a perfect feeling, it is a historic success and it will really help the club. Right now we don't care who our next opponents are, we just want to enjoy this win. GAK goalscorer René Aufhauser

We played badly. We tried to do well, but didn't and I thought the referee was too lenient towards GAK, especially in the first half. But GAK played better and deserved to win. Alkmaar coach Co Adriaanse

 
Last updated: 16/12/04 16.02CET

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