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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 13, 2007

Revenge mission spurred us on - Juninho

Brazilian Juninho has revealed how Lyon's humiliating home defeat to Rangers acted as the catalyst for last night's Champions League triumph at Ibrox.

The French champions were left reeling after slumping to a 3-0 defeat at the Stade Gerland back in October as Rangers romped to one of their best European victories.

But Lyon exacted their revenge in devastating style in the return match in Glasgow when a Sidney Govou strike and two goals from Karim Benzema saw them cruise into the last 16 of the tournament, leaving Rangers' own Champions League dream in tatters.

A draw would have been good enough for Walter Smith's men, who now have the scant consolation of dropping into the UEFA Cup, and Juninho insists the best team came out on top on the night.

'We were well worthy victors,' he said. 'We said last night that we hadn't missed out on qualifying for three years and we certainly didn't want to miss out here.

'Pride was a huge factor for us. When you look back at the match in Lyon, we must have had 25 or 26 attempts on goal yet we lost the three goals.

'So we had an awful lot that we wanted to prove here tonight. Physically, they were always up to the mark. But, technically, I think we had enough of a margin and it told over the piece.'

Govou broke the deadlock after just 16 minutes and his opener should have been cancelled out by substitute Jean-Claude Darcheville with 11 minutes to go.

But the Rangers striker somehow managed to blast over the crossbar from a few yards when it looked so much easier to score and Juninho knew then that it was going to be Lyon's night.

'When Jean-Claude Darcheville missed that chance it was a big turning point in the game for both teams,' he said.

Benzema then helped himself in the final six minutes before Darcheville saw red for taking out his frustration on Kim Kallstrom and Juninho claims Lyon simply handled the pressure of the occasion better than their hosts.

He said: 'The pleasing thing for me is that we have shown that this team can handle one-off decisive occasions and I am particularly delighted for Karim, who was the best player and I hope he continues that way for the rest of the season.'

Juninho also paid tribute to the 50,000 fans who turned Ibrox into a cauldron of noise but who were ultimately disappointed by the outcome.

'The atmosphere at this place is just fabulous, which made it an incredibly difficult match,' he said.

'Truth be told, in this kind of atmosphere, even if we had been playing an under-18 team, the crowd would have pushed them on in the same way in the second half.'