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PSG, Rangers may miss Champions' League cash bonanza

(c) 1997 Copyright Nando.net
(c) 1997 Reuter Information Service

LONDON (Aug 25, 1997 - 12:10 EDT) - French champions Paris St Germain and big-spending Glasgow Rangers face the nightmarish prospect on Wednesday of missing out on a cash bonanza from the lucrative European Champions' League.

Both clubs go into preliminary round, second leg games needing to overturn 3-0 deficits to reach the expanded Champions' League.

PSG, one of the continent's most successful sides in recent years, lost the first leg 3-2 away to 1986 European Cup winners Steaua Bucharest.

But last week UEFA stripped PSG of the two goals they scored in the Romanian capital for fielding a suspended player -- defender Laurent Fournier.

The French club had their appeal against the UEFA sanction turned down on Monday .

But PSG's Brazilian skipper Rai remained in good heart about the club's prospects of winning.

"I think we can make it," he said. "It's going to be difficult but we always react bravely when facing hard times.

"We know the Romanians have trouble in keeping their concentration for 90 minutes."

Poor defending cost Steaua a 3-1 league defeat by Otelul Galati on Saturday and coach Mihai Stoichita warned that similar mistakes against aggrieved PSG could prove fatal to their Champions' League prospects.

"The 3-0 advantage would mean nothing to us," he said.

Steaua will be without their captain Marius Lacatus and central defender Adrian Matei on Wednesday. Both are suspended.

Rangers, Scottish champions for nine successive seasons, spent heavily in the close season in a bid to improve a dismal track record in Europe.

But they face a daunting task after stumbling to a 3-0 defeat by IFK Gothenburg in the first leg.

Rangers will be looking to Italian striker Marco Negri to continue his rich vein of scoring. His 10 goals in six games this season included all five in the rout of premier division Dundee United on Saturday.

Gothenburg brought a smile to coach Mats Jingblad's face on Saturday by drawing 0-0 in a premier league game against Orebro.

"We couldn't have had a better warm-up match because Orebro played in exactly the same way as Glasgow Rangers," he said.

Barcelona, another of the preliminary round heavyweights, face a tricky hurdle in Latvia after winning the first leg against Skonto Riga only 3-2.

Parma, Italy's only representatives in the 16 ties, should have no worries against Widzew Lodz of Poland, especially if Enrico Chiesa continues to poach goals as easily he did in the away leg. He scored a hat-trick in the 3-1 win.

The UEFA Cup continues to whittle itself down to manageable proportions with the return legs of the second preliminary round on Tuesday while the second legs of the Cup Winners' Cup qualifying round are being staged on Thursday.