Fernando Ricksen was left dreaming of an FC Zenit St. Petersburg v Rangers FC final after making a surprise return to action in the Russian club's UEFA Cup semi-final at FC Bayern München.Pain-killer
'Delighted to play again'
"I was delighted that I played 90 minutes again after a long time," Ricksen said. "Last year I broke my ankle – I still have a loose bone in my ankle – so I can't play fit. I had to go for an operation but because of injuries they told me to come back. I had to take an injection but I felt OK, I felt comfortable and I was happy to play this game."
The 31-year-old's comeback seemed to be turning sour when he was penalised for a challenge on Bayern's Zé Roberto and Franck Ribéry scored on the rebound from his penalty. "Sometimes they are given, sometimes not," the former Netherlands player commented. However, he was not surprised that Dick Advocaat's side found a way back into the contest. "We know how good our team are and how good we can play," he explained. "We know we can create chances. First half, we were a little bit unlucky with the challenges [that broke down Zenit attacks]. The second half we showed how good we can play. We could have scored the second and third as well, although they could also have scored. The luckier team, if any, were going to win, but in the end we were well balanced."
Now Zenit must make home advantage count in the return match on 1 May. "We have to make the most of it," said Ricksen, who has been ruled out of the game through suspension. "Playing at home can be a very big factor and this way we can get to the final." A final which, ideally, would pit Zenit against Rangers, the club Ricksen left in 2006 after six seasons in Scotland and who drew their first leg with ACF Fiorentina. "I would love to get Rangers in the final, of course. That would be a great final, especially in Manchester with the atmosphere there. It would be fantastic."
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