Wednesday February 15, 2012 Last 16 Finished Petrovskiy

Zenit St. Petersburg 3 - 2 Benfica

  • Shirokov 27’, 88’
  • Semak 71’
  • Pereira 20’
  • Cardozo 87’

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  1. Zenit edge Benfica in chiller

    Zenit edge Benfica in chiller

    Two goalkeeping errors allowed Benfica to score two away goals as Zenit St Petersburg won 3-2 in their Champions League last-16 first leg. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • Zenit St. Petersburg
    • Benfica
    • - Thanks for joining me for a cracking match - the second leg in Lisbon is in three weeks. I'm covering Arsenal's trip to Milan next, so join me for that. FOLLOW ON TWITTER!
    • 90+2 There it is - 3-2, Zenit winning a highly-entertaining clash but only just. Phew.
    • 90+1 Nolito cuts in from the left, he shoots and deflected off Anyukov and almost sails over the hapless Zhevnov but he just about readjusts to hold on!
    • 90' BENFICA SUB: Gaitain comes off for Saviola I think.
    • 89' Well that was a bizarre pair of minutes. Sorry, it was Pereira not Luisao. He tried to clear with his wrong foot, completely shanking it and leaving Artur helpless.
    • 88' GOAL ZENIT! Straight from kick-off and Luisao with a dreadful mistake this time, mis-hitting the ball and Artur can't claim so Shirokov gets his second from a tight angle!
    • 87' GOAL BENFICA! Cardozo with a close-range finsh but another howler from Zhevnov. Terrible as he spills a weak low ball into the area, easy goal for Cardozo.
    • 86' Now Faizulin on the move but he's robbed by Aimar of all people.
    • 85' Zenit come again but Semak is unable to meet the through ball.
    • 84' Yeah the replay shows no contact with his face, he was just play-acting.
    • 83' Pereira is down hurt, possibly buying some time. It's so cold, so very cold...
    • 82' Faizulin is down holding the side of his head but a quick rub and he's okay. Drop ball, knocked back to the Zenit defence.
    • 81' Poor ball from Aimar though, and Zenit clear - Benfica come again but Lombaerts does well to hold them off and it's a goal kick.
    • 80' Benfica trying to force the issue here and have a free-kick on the right.
    • 79' Kerzhakov with another effort, a header from the edge of the box, but easy for the keeper.
    • 78' Another corner to Zenit on the left, Benfica don't clear it and the ball drops to KERZHAKOV but he drills it into the side netting! Tight angle, and given the number of blue shirts in there he maybe should have crossed!
    • 77' BENFICA SUB: Nolito comes on for Cesar.
    • 77' The delivery causes a few problems as Alves flies in but in the end the whistle goes for a foul.
    • 76' Alves, the only Portuguese on the pitch, will take this for Zenit - off the wall and over. Corner.
    • 75' Aimar collides with an opponent, is booked and will miss the second leg. I can't see what he did wrong there. Maybe the ref though his arm was raised.
    • 74' Sorry about the confusion on the assist. Garay shoves the man Bystrov and Zenit have a free-kick.
    • 73' That is Semak's first Champions League goal for Zenit at the age of 35. The assist was Bystrov's, by the way.
    • 72' Well that was a smart change. Lovely backheel on the right wing to keep it in - that was Kerzhakov - then a low cross from Bystrov which Semak actually backheeled. What a cracking goal.
    • 71' GOAL ZENIT! Semak pounces with a close-range finish, flicked inside the post after a super shimmy following a cross from the right!
    • 70' Cardozo has a pop from Witsel's cross, deflected and Zhevnov takes an age to get down before spilling it wide - amost playing his team into trouble. They must be praying Malafeev comes back.
    • 69' Witsel holds his head in pain. His corn rows giving him some trouble after a whack on the back of his bonce.
    • 68' Bystrov fires just over after popping up in space on the right wing! they were calling for offside but I think not. Hit Luisao on the way over.
    • 67' Alves's header is straight to a Zenit player, but Cardozo is offside on the first-time volleyed pass/
    • 66' ZENIT SUB: Bystrov comes on for Kanunnikov, who apart from that backheel has been quiet.
    • 65' It opens up for Kerzhakov on the left side of the box after a nice backheel from Kanunnikov, but he gets the shot-cross all wrong, almost hitting the corner flag.
    • 64' Better from Aimar but headed clear by Lombaerts. Gaitan picks it up on the right but Denisov challenges effectively.
    • 63' A late slide from Anyukov through Cesar, clear booking and a Benfica free-kick perhaps 30 yards out...
    • 62' That ball from Cesar was just as poor as Aimar's though, with the flag going up for offisde on the return ball in.
    • 61' Lombaerts reacts angrily to a free-kick against him but he was all over Aimar. This time Cesar takes charge.
    • 60' Emerson takes a delayed tumble after he spun off Anyukov - but the ref ignores him.
    • 59' No risks for Anyukov, who hands one out to touch. Emerson with the long throw but Alves - the only Portuguese on the pitch, and playing for the Russian side - heads clear.
    • 58' Spalletti and his assistants are in deep conversation with a UEFA official. Not sure what the issue is.
    • 57' Down the other end Kerzhakov has a pop but it's well wide. Goal kick Benfica.
    • 56' JUST WIDE FROM GAITAIN! He capitalised on a mistake by the left-back and, with no support and from an angle, he tries an audacious bending effort the swoops wide of the top left! Cardozo feels he should have waited as he was arriving - Spalletti agrees.
    • 55' Shirokov tries a lofted through ball but it skims off the turf and into Artur's arms.
    • 54' Good defending by Luisao as Shirokov and Semak combined on the edge of the box.
    • 53' Zenit, who have started this half quietly, come forward in numbers but a poor ball by Shirokov on the right goes back to Artur.
    • 52' Gaitan on the move but he can't get it through to Cardozo. All the way back to Artur now.
    • 51' Another free-kick to Benfica, this time on the right. Aimar again to take but a poor low ball once more and cleared.
    • 50' ... Poor from Aimar. He drills it low and weak and into the first man.
    • 49' Aimar draws a foul on the Benfica centre-left. Free-kick that he will take...
    • 48' Loose touch from Kerzhakov out to touch for a Benfica throw. Spalletti annoyed at that.
    • 47' Semak with an early touch and his shot flies high and wide.
    • 46' The second half is underway!
    • 46' ZENIT SUB: Semak is coming on, the veteran playmaker. Zyryanov off. Benfica have not come out yet..
    • - It has dropped to minus 15 celsius. Yikes!!
    • - Decent match this: started slowly but has become end-to-end as the players warm to the conditions. What do you think? Have your say on Twitter @Reda_Eurosport. FOLLOW ON TWITTER!
    • 45+3 A short corner does not come off and it is half-time - great fun given the cold and pitch, 1-1 and fairly even although Zenit at hosts making more of the running.
    • 45+2 Denisov wide to Anyukov, who is fine now, and a corner is won by Faizulin off Garay.
    • 45+2 Cynical trip by Cesar on Denisov. Yellow card.
    • 45+1 Cesar plays it in, the ricochet drops to Gaitan but he mis-hits it and Lombaerts clears.
    • 45' Down the other end Witsel is in but his low drive is wide! Well wide in the end.
    • 44' HOW DID THEY NOT SCORE? Zyryanov inexplicably goes across the face of goal with it gaping after Artur was stranded following a devastating counter! He was at an angle but should have tried t a finish.
    • 43' Cardozo heads the free-kick clear. Good defending from the striker.
    • 42' Kerzhakov gets a hand in the face from Luisao, overreacting a tad but there was a rugby-style hand-off. Silly as he was shielding the ball by the touchline.
    • 41' Daisy cutter from Aimar but weak and easy for Zhevnov this time.
    • 40' Faizulin almost wriggles in but the flag is up - the pass had been delayed by Alves.
    • 39' Good defending by Garay to nod back to Artur after a long ball from Alves caused problems, as it would with this surface.
    • 38' Strong defending by Hubocan and then Lombaerts to halt a Benfica attack.
    • 38' Gaitan is fouled by Denisov as the hosts snap at Benfica's heels.
    • 37' Cesar on a mazy run, he feeds Cardozo but this time Zhevnov holds on.
    • 35' Here come Benfica again, four on three but a poor ball from Gaitan behind Cardozo, Aimar and Witsel so cleared.
    • 34' Matic has a long shot which flies well over.
    • 33' Anyukov has been carried off. Hopefully we'll see him back on soon...
    • 32' Anyukov is in real pain after colliding with the erratic Zhevnov. He took a crack on the knee - seemed to just be a knock but in this cold it's gonna hurt...
    • 31' Poor keeping by Zhevnov again as he comes rushing out to half-clear when his defenders had it covered.
    • 30' So Rodrigo wasn't faking it after all - surprising to see him back on in the first place to be honest.
    • 29' BENFICA SUB: Aimar comes on for Rodrigo. Mr Greg Akerman wanted that...
    • 28' A couple of niggly fould, from Zyryanov at one and and Cardozo at the other.
    • 27' It was coming - a lovely first-time finish, low and with a super adjustment of the body from a clever low left-wing cross by Hubocan. Four goals in seven Champions League matches for him now.
    • 26' GOAL ZENIT! 1-1 AND A LOVELY FINISH FROM SHIROKOV! Great cross Hubocan.
    • 25' Zenit again on the move as Shirokov blasts well over following a nice cross from Denisov.
    • 24' Rodrigo is back on - it seems it was just a knock.
    • 23' Artur made himself big at the near post to deny the Russia striker - another corner and Zenit come again, Faizulin to Shirokov but Kerzhakov's ball is hacked away by Luisao. All Zenit suddenly.
    • 22' Taken short and a super cross, Benfica all over the place as Lombaerts flicks it on, half-cleared to KERZHAKOV WHO MUST SCORE BUT A SUPER SAVE BY ARTUR!
    • 21' The replay shows poor keeping from Zhevnov at fault there - weather or no weather, he could have held that or at least pushed it wide. Down the other end Gaitain is covering to head behind for a corner. Almost one from the restart!
    • 20' GOAL BENFICA! Cardozo's driven free-kick is batted out by the keeper Zhevnov, but he should have held it - he didn't, and Maxi Pereira taps it in. 1-0 Benfica.
    • 20' Cardozo likes a free-kick, particularly centre-right as he can use his tasty left foot...
    • 19' Witsel is brought down by Belgium team-mate Lombaerts after a clever shimmy on the edge of the box.
    • 18' Rodrigo is still down in some pain. They bring the stretcher on...
    • 17' Rodrigo is receiving treatment still. Alves is adamant it was not worthy of a card but with conditions like these you can't be rough with people.
    • 16' Alves with a clearance and a shove Rodrigo lands heavily on his knee. Ow. He's in real pain.
    • 15' Rodrigo on a run down the left but he runs out of turf and it's a goal kick to Zenit.
    • 14' A dangerous lunge by Luisao on Faizulin, the first booking despite the Brazilian's protests.
    • 13' Gaitain slides Rodrigo in, he turns Anyukov who responds with a clever block, Zhevnov claiming.
    • 12' Shirokov tries a through ball but it zips away from Kerzhakov, who had strayed offside and needed to hold his run. He expected it earlier. Zyryanov annoyed as he was fouled in the build-up but advantage played.
    • 11' Kanunnikov gets a touch but it's swiftly cleared from him by Maxi.
    • 10' Zenit have now eased a bit more into this match as they look better at coping with the conditions, able to keep it low on the ground despite the surface.
    • 9' Faizulin with an up and under but straight to Garay who is able to clear.
    • 8' Hubocan is a hard fellow - he is not wearing gloves. Madman. Benfica now in control of the ball, the players only too happy to keep moving in the cold.
    • 7' Witsel gets a first real touch of the ball but his pass spins out.
    • 6' Better from Zenit now as they ease into the match, moving the ball well from left to right. The pitch is a lot bobblier than it should be but playable.
    • 5' Artur claims as Zenit's first attack sees Denisov clip in a low ball after good work from Kerzhakov.
    • 4' A short corner routine sees Gaitain cross but Lombaerts clears. Benfica start on the front foot as they try to exploit some pre-rustiness with Zenit.
    • 3' Cesar swings it in but Portugal defender Alves heads clear. Now Gaitan on the move but Faizulin is back to challenge. Corner.
    • 2' Hubocan gives away a free-kick around 30 yards out. Cesar over it..
    • 1' The first half is underway - remember, the Russian season is in recess because of the winter. Normally it ends in November but, as Russia moves its league season to the regular European dates, they have an 18-monther this time out.
    • 17:01 A slight delay in kick off, only a minute or two.
    • 16:58 It's young Zenit striker Kanunnikov's Champions League debut, by the way.
    • 16:57 The match is going ahead, by the way. Whoop to that.
    • 16:56 Today's referee is Jonas Eriksson (Sweden); the subs are in by the way, scroll back to the comment at 16:30 for updated team list.
    • 16:55 @LukWhosStaying: "Regarding Zenit-Benfica, is it odd that Benfica are playing w/out a recognized c. mid, other than the PLAYMAKER witsel?" - I answered that on Twitter, so engage in the chit-chat for this match and Milan-Arsenal if you like. FOLLOW ON TWITTER!
    • 16:50 MATCH ODDS: Zenit 6/4, Benfica 19/10, Draw 9/4.
    • 16:50 Shame that Danny's out for Zenit - he has created more chances for team mates than any other player in the Champions League this season (21); Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan, meanwhile, has more assists than anyone else this season (5).
    • 16:45 FACT: Benfica have lost just one of eight European matches against Russian opposition; None of the six knockout matches involving Benfica in the Champions League era have produced more than two goals.
    • 16:45 FACT: Zenit have lost just two of their last 30 home games in European competition, excluding qualifiers; Their draw against APOEL on Matchday 5 ended a run of nine straight home wins for the Russian side in European competition.
    • 16:40 Jorge Jesus: "We've experience of playing in the Europa League and the Champions League and now have a very important match in the knockout stage. With all due respect to Zenit, we want to reach the next round. It is clear the tie will be decided over two matches but our aim is the same - to win."
    • 16:40 Luciano Spalletti: "Maybe it will be cold, but it won't be for those who are on the field. In football you can play in any weather and a real winner, a strong player, should be able to adapt to any situation. When there are problems with the pitch, the advantage is with the more skilful team, because it is necessary to use more technique."
    • 16:35 Benfica's holding midfielder Javi Garcia is out due to injury but Uruguayan defender Maxi Pereira is available once again.
    • 16:35 So for Zenit, Russia keeper Malafeev does not make the team after struggling in training; Roman Shirokov is fit, however. Portuguese winger Danny is out with a long-term knee injury, while Italian defender Domenico Criscito is out, as are strikers Danko Lazovic and Alexander Bukharov.
    • 16:30 TEAMS - Zenit St Petersburg: Zhevnov, Aniukov, Bruno Alves, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Denisov, Zyryanov, Shirokov, Kanunnikov, Kerzhakov, Faitzulin; Subs: Borodin, Rosina, Huszti, Lukovic, Semak, Bystrov, Cheminava /// Benfica: Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Emerson, Matic, Witsel, Gaitan, Cardozo, Bruno Cesar, Rodrigo Moreno; Subs: Eduardo, Nolito, Aimar, Nelson Oliveira, Miguel Vitor, Saviola, Jardel
    • 16:30 Speaking of me, and Twitter, you can get in touch about this game or Milan-Arsenal later by tweeting me @Reda_Eurosport. FOLLOW HERE!
    • 16:25 My colleague in Russia has spoken to Zenit officials and, while nothing is official, they assured him the match would go ahead on time as the pitch is playable.
    • 16:20 Regarding the pitch, no official news yet but Zenit have kindly published a pic of their ground on Twitter - looks 'decent', but obviously we have no idea how firm it is. CLICK HERE FOR PIC!
    • 16:15 FACT: Benfica were one of only three unbeaten teams in this season's Champions League Group Stage, alongside Spain's giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
    • 16:10 FACT: Zenit St Petersburg are the first Russian club from a city other than Moscow to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.
    • 16:05 We'll let you know the result of the pitch inspection as soon as we hear of it from our Russian colleagues - UEFA have been typically quiet on it. For more on that, including a video preview, click on our article in the Champions League section. Or here, if you can!
    • 16:00 Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage of Zenit St Petersburg v Benfica, set to kick off at 5pm UK time but subject to a late pitch inspection due to the freezing weather in Russia.
  • Summary

    • 90+1 Nolito cuts in from the left, he shoots and deflected off Anyukov and almost sails over the hapless Zhevnov but he just about readjusts to hold on!
    • 88' GOAL ZENIT! Straight from kick-off and Luisao with a dreadful mistake this time, mis-hitting the ball and Artur can't claim so Shirokov gets his second from a tight angle!
    • 87' GOAL BENFICA! Cardozo with a close-range finsh but another howler from Zhevnov. Terrible as he spills a weak low ball into the area, easy goal for Cardozo.
    • 78' Another corner to Zenit on the left, Benfica don't clear it and the ball drops to KERZHAKOV but he drills it into the side netting! Tight angle, and given the number of blue shirts in there he maybe should have crossed!
    • 72' Well that was a smart change. Lovely backheel on the right wing to keep it in - that was Kerzhakov - then a low cross from Bystrov which Semak actually backheeled. What a cracking goal.
    • 71' GOAL ZENIT! Semak pounces with a close-range finish, flicked inside the post after a super shimmy following a cross from the right!
    • 70' Cardozo has a pop from Witsel's cross, deflected and Zhevnov takes an age to get down before spilling it wide - amost playing his team into trouble. They must be praying Malafeev comes back.
    • 68' Bystrov fires just over after popping up in space on the right wing! they were calling for offside but I think not. Hit Luisao on the way over.
    • 56' JUST WIDE FROM GAITAIN! He capitalised on a mistake by the left-back and, with no support and from an angle, he tries an audacious bending effort the swoops wide of the top left! Cardozo feels he should have waited as he was arriving - Spalletti agrees.
    • 44' HOW DID THEY NOT SCORE? Zyryanov inexplicably goes across the face of goal with it gaping after Artur was stranded following a devastating counter! He was at an angle but should have tried t a finish.
    • 26' GOAL ZENIT! 1-1 AND A LOVELY FINISH FROM SHIROKOV! Great cross Hubocan.
    • 22' Taken short and a super cross, Benfica all over the place as Lombaerts flicks it on, half-cleared to KERZHAKOV WHO MUST SCORE BUT A SUPER SAVE BY ARTUR!
    • 20' GOAL BENFICA! Cardozo's driven free-kick is batted out by the keeper Zhevnov, but he should have held it - he didn't, and Maxi Pereira taps it in. 1-0 Benfica.
    • 16:30 TEAMS - Zenit St Petersburg: Zhevnov, Aniukov, Bruno Alves, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Denisov, Zyryanov, Shirokov, Kanunnikov, Kerzhakov, Faitzulin; Subs: Borodin, Rosina, Huszti, Lukovic, Semak, Bystrov, Cheminava /// Benfica: Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Emerson, Matic, Witsel, Gaitan, Cardozo, Bruno Cesar, Rodrigo Moreno; Subs: Eduardo, Nolito, Aimar, Nelson Oliveira, Miguel Vitor, Saviola, Jardel

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Zenit St. Petersburg

    Manager: Luciano Spalletti

  • Benfica

    Manager: Jorge Jesus

  • Line-up

  • Rate Players

    Rate Players

    Please to rate the players.

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    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      5.4 3
      Defenders
      Yellow Card 6.5 7
      Yellow Card 6.7 7
      6.9 7
      6.7 7
      Midfielders
      7.1 7
      Goals ×2 8.1 9
      Substitution Out45′ 7.1 6
      Strikers
      Substitution Out66′ 6.4 6
      Substitution Out90′ 6.9 7
      7.3 7
      Subs
      Substitution In90′ 7 7
      Substitution In45′ Goal 7.9 8
      Substitution In66′ 6.8 8
    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      5.5 7
      Defenders
      Goal 5.9 6
      Yellow Card 5.9 6
      6.4 6
      4.7 6
      Midfielders
      6.1 6
      6.1 7
      Substitution Out90′ 5.5 6
      Goal 5.8 8
      Yellow Card Substitution Out76′ 5.5 6
      Strikers
      Substitution Out30′ 5.9 6
      Subs
      Substitution In30′ Yellow Card 5.2 6
      Substitution In90′ 1 7
      Substitution In76′ 5.7 7

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