Kosanovic demands perfection against Rangers

August 28, 2007

Red Star Belgrade coach Milorad Kosanovic has demanded the perfect performance from his players against Rangers on Tuesday night.

They will be bidding to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie against Rangers, with a place in the lucrative group stages the incentive.

Kosanovic was appointed after Red Star scraped past Levadia Tallinn in the previous round, with former boss Bosko Djurovski losing his job because of the poor performance in Estonia.

A repeat of that display would be punished by in-form Rangers, but Kosanovic believes his players can bring the seven-match winning run of Walter Smith's side to a shuddering halt.

'We need victory and you have to deserve it,' he said.

'Whether the game will last 90, 120 or more minutes, nobody knows.

'I will be telling my players that they must show bravery, strength, knowledge, sharpness - everything. Tuesday could be a great day for us and we must take that chance.'

Kosanovic has accused Jean-Claude Darcheville of deliberately provoking his players in the Ibrox clash.

Red Star had seven players booked as they lost to Nacho Novo's late left-footed strike, while Rangers avoided a yellow card.

But Kosanovic has pointed the finger at 32-year-old Darcheville by claiming he was deliberately using his experience to rile the Red Star players.

He said: 'Rangers are a team with a lot of experience and there's no doubt they'll do their best to get to the group stage.

'Jean-Claude Darcheville showed us in the first leg that some small provocation can be expected in these clashes, but I know my players will stay calm.

'Only with a smart and calm performance can we cut the deficit and then strike for the victory.'

There is no doubt that Red Star supporters can be hostile at the Marakana stadium, but the club defend themselves against suggestions that racism is part of the unwelcoming atmosphere awaiting Rangers.

DaMarcus Beasley and Darcheville were racially abused during Rangers' clash with FK Zeta in the second qualifying round.

Beasley also revealed he was the victim of racism during a match against Red Star when he played for PSV Eindhoven.

However, Red Star have forcibly made the point that their supporters are not discriminatory.

Their Ecuadorian midfielder Segundo Castillo, who is black, said: 'This is my second year in Serbia and I have never faced any kind of racial abuse, neither in stadiums nor on the streets of Belgrade. In fact, I'm enjoying myself here.

'That's a really strange story. Red Star fans are not racist. Look at me, I'm black, and those same Red Star supporters voted me as the club's best player last season!'