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Rangers FC manager Walter Smith expressed his delight after second-half goals from Jean-Claude Darcheville and Steven Whittaker earned victory in Lisbon and set up a UEFA Cup semi-final against ACF Fiorentina. Sporting Clube de Portugal counterpart Paulo Bento was rather less enthused after a game which he thought was under control slipped away.
Paulo Bento, Sporting coach
We were a bit nervous during the first half, although we finished the half better than we started. We didn't have problems in defence and at the other end we hit the post and had two other chances. Then, in the second period when we were completely in charge, we conceded a goal. We had some trouble reacting to that. The attitude was great but we lost a bit of control and the players weren't as together as they should have been. Yannick Djaló had a good opportunity which could have helped to turn the tie but it didn't happen. The result was unfair, too generous, yet Rangers deservedly won the tie because they were more potent in front of goal. We tried to dominate and we avoided playing at Rangers' tempo. We hardly made any mistakes, we controlled things and had more chances. But Rangers deserve credit because of the way they moved the ball. They concede few goals and they are a very experienced side, so at this stage they can go all the way and win the cup.
Walter Smith, Rangers manager
I thought we played very well right from the start. We kept possession better than we have, especially in recent games. So that was a big improvement in our play. I was a bit disappointed in the first half when we had one or two opportunities to play a better pass, but we managed to get through and I'm delighted with the two goals. Obviously the two goals were really good, they were well-worked. Steven Whittaker's was in unbelievable circumstances and he took it well, it was a good finish. I thought Steven Davis was excellent throughout and Jean-Claude did well to finish. Obviously I am a bit disappointed about the bookings [and automatic suspensions for midfielders Barry Ferguson and Kevin Thomson]. At this stage I don't know a great deal about Fiorentina but I'm sure David Moyes [whose Everton FC team lost to the Viola in the Round of 16] will give us a rundown. I haven't had an opportunity to see them yet but someone was there tonight. I'm just delighted to get to the semi-finals regardless of the opposition as it's the first time in a long time we've done it.
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