Guest written by Nathaniel of Soccer Source.
Glasgow Rangers were unable to gain the single point that would have seen them through to the knockout round of the UEFA Champions League, instead losing 3-0 to Olympique Lyonnais at Ibrox tonight. Karim Benzema notched a second-half brace to seal the deal for the guests, after Sydney Gouvou opened scoring in the 16th minute of play. It’s a bitter pill for Rangers, as Walter Smith’s side had played well for most of the group stage. Gers even beat today’s opponent at the Stade de Gerland–by the identical 3-0 score–and could have clinched advancement as early as Nov. 27. Alas, Rangers ended up losing at lame duck VfB Stuttgart that day–the first and only points the German champions gained during the group stage campaign. As the third-placed team, Rangers will be drawn into the UEFA Cup Round of 32. A nice consolation, but undoubtedly anti-climatic given how close the team was to advancing to the big-money elimination rounds.
In the only other game of note, Fenerbahce managed to join the “Sweet 16” by virtue of a 3-1 victory at CSKA Moscow. So here’s how things shake out: Porto, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Chelsea, AC Milan, Manchester United and Sevilla are in the group winners’ pot. Liverpool, Olympiakos, Lyon, Fenerbahce, Schalke, Celtic, Roma and Arsenal are in the runners-up pot. Teams from the two pools will be drawn against each other, though English and Spanish teams cannot face each other. Nor can teams that were in the same group. This stilll leaves plenty of intriguing possibilities. The first-placed finishers will be hoping to draw Schalke with the runners-up praying for Sevilla.
Oh yeah, joining Rangers in the UEFA Cup are Marseille, Bremen, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and Slavia Prague.