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With the visitors already through to the knockout stage and Luciano Spalletti's side desperate for a victory, Phil Kitromilides is tipping the hosts to take all three points

Whatever happens from here on in, this season will go down as a legendary one for the supporters of Malaga.

Their first ever campaign in the Champions League has seen them surpass all expectations and qualify from an extremely challenging looking group with two matches to spare.

The feat is made all the more impressive given the fact they lost arguably their two best players in the summer, yet somehow Manuel Pellegrini has managed to galvanise his team into producing some memorable European performances.

A victory for the team from Andalusia this evening is priced by William Hill at 15/4 (4.75) while a draw, which would also represent an excellent result for Malaga, is priced at 13/5 (3.60).

Yet it is the price of 3/4 (1.75) for a win for Zenit St Petersburg which should hold the most appeal for punters.

In the last few weeks the slightest of cracks have begun to appear in Malaga's domestic performances, with a 2-1 defeat at home to Rayo Vallecano followed by an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Osasuna.

Despite Pellegrini's assurances that he will field a strong side, with Malaga's place in the knockout stages secure, some of the team's natural intensity will be diminished.

It could also be worth noting that temperatures in Russia this evening will be close to 20 degrees centigrade cooler than in the south of Spain.

Zenit have hit some form at home winning each of their last three games in St Petersburg, including their last Champions League tie there against Anderlecht. With the Russians knowing only a win will keep their hopes in the competition alive, backing them at 3/4 (1.75) looks like an excellent option.

For a value bet try backing Zenit striker Hulk to pay back some of his eye watering transfer fee by netting the first goal at 5/1 (6.00).

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Zenit to win at 3/4 (1.75) with William Hill
Hulk to score at 5/1 (6.00)(5.50) with William Hill

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.

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