Football: Porrini off as Rangers bow out

Parma 3 Rangers 1: Parma win 4-2 on aggregate
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RANGERS' DREAMS of Uefa Cup glory died in the space of 20 minutes yesterday at the Tardini Stadium. The Scottish Premier League leaders conceded three goals in that spell, after being reduced to 10 men in this third round, second-leg match.

The Italian defender Sergio Porrini was sent off at the end of the first half by the Norwegian referee Terge Hauge for his second bookable offence, both yellow cards the result of challenges on Juan Veron.

The Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, was furious at the decision. "There was no reason to give that second yellow card to Porrini and it changed the face of the game," he said. "It made it very difficult to match Parma in the second half."

The Scots had been in the driving seat before Porrini's dismissal, with Jorg Albertz putting them 2-1 ahead on aggregate in the 29th minute. But they were left with a daunting task against a team of Parma's quality. The Italians have not lost in Europe for the past five years and are currently flying high in Serie A.

Abel Balbo pulled them level two minutes after the break but worse was to follow for Rangers. The substitute Stefano Fiore put Parma ahead in the 63rd minute and Enrico Chiesa sealed a place in the quarter-finals by scoring from the penalty spot four minutes later.

Advocaat sprang a surprise before the game by omitting Andrei Kanchelskis. The Russian winger was expected to play a key role but instead Albertz retained his place. Gordon Durie was recalled to the front line with Jonatan Johansson suffering from a hamstring injury while Stephane Guivarc'h was ineligible. But Rangers were forced on the back foot in the first half with Balbo squandering a good chance of giving Parma the lead in the sixth minute. Fabio Cannavaro played a long ball in from the right and Chiesa flicked it on only for Balbo to steer it wide of the post.

Rangers gave Chiesa too much room and the Finnish goalkeeper Antti Niemi twice had to scramble the ball away from the striker's feet.

Yet Rangers shocked their opponents by taking the lead against the run of play when Roberto Sensini carelessly lost possession to Albertz. The German midfielder took the ball on and delivered a stunning strike into the corner to put Rangers 1-0 up on the day and 2-1 ahead on aggregate.

But the turning point came just before the break, with Porrini picking up his first yellow card in the 44th minute with a lunge on Veron. Then came his dismissal a minute later.

"Amoruso had a good game and there was no reason for him to use his hands and give away the penalty. But don't put the blame on Amoruso and Porrini. What happened to them is part of the game," Advocaat said.

Parma: Buffon, Thuram, Sensini, Cannavaro, Fuser (Mussi, 84), Baggio, Boghossain (Fiore 56), Bennarivo, Veron, Balbo, Chiesa (Crespo, 74). Substitutes not used: Nista (gk), Vanoli, Orlandini, Giunti.

Rangers: Niemi, Porrini, Hendry, Amoruso, Numan, Albertz, B Ferguson (Miller, 81), I Ferguson, Van Bronckhorst, Wallace (Amato 73), Durie (Vidmar, 54). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Stensaas, Wilson, Kanchelskis.

Referee: T Hauge (Norway).

Rangers are to hold talks with the Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper, Stefan Klos.

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