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UEFA Champions League
23 October 2013
• Estádio Do Dragão, Porto
Referee: P. Tagliavento
• Attendance: 31109
A. Kerzhakov 85'
Shots on Target
The win means that Zenit leapfrog their opponents to move into second place in Group G at the halfway point of the group stage. That's all from me for tonight guys and girls. Goodbye!
FULL-TIME: PORTO 0-1 ZENIT The visitors leave the Stadio do Dragao with all three points thanks to a late winner from Kerzhakov after Porto had twice struck the woodwork before that. The hosts had Herrera sent off after just six minutes, but that did not seem to affect their play as they dominated much of the game and Sousa will feel aggrieved that his team did not secure at least a point.
90' + 5'
And there is the final whistle! Zenit have their first win of this Champions League campaign.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Neto
90' + 4'
If Spalletti had hair he'd be tearing it out. His team – Hulk apart – have been poor tonight, but they look set to take all three points back to Russia this evening.
90' + 2'
The game has petered out somewhat since that stoppage in play while Lodygin received treatment. Zenit are keeping the ball well in the Porto half at present.
90' + 1'
There will be five minutes of added time here.
Someone on the Porto coaching team has made a few too many comments to the fourth official as Lodygin's bleeding head is bandaged up by the Zenit physios. The referee marches over and sends the Porto man down the tunnel.
Lodygin goes down inside his penalty area at the resulting corner after colliding with a Porto player. The Zenit goalkeeper is receiving treatment as we head into the final moments of normal time.
Martinez nearly draws the hosts level with a driven effort! The attacker springs the offside trap to latch on to Mangala's pass and fire a shot at goal, but it took a deflection off Lombaerts and flicked over the crossbar. That could easily have flown under the bar and into the net!
Porto are going for broke now. Off goes Lucho to be replaced by Ghilas, a striker.
Goal Aleksandr Kerzhakov
KERZHAKOV GIVES ZENIT A SHOCK LEAD!! The substitute nods the ball past Helton from 10 yards after being set up by an inviting cross from the left by Hulk. The visitors lead so late in the game!
More brilliance from Mangala! The Frenchman has been tremendous for 10-man Porto tonight. Kerzhakov looked to have the edge in a race with the defender going into the Porto box, but Mangala recovered to dispossess the attacker superbly with a sliding challenge.
What a frustrating evening it has been for Hulk. Individually he has played very well, but his team-mates have just not shown the same commitment or drive to get anything from this game.
Hulk takes matters into his own hands, for the umpteenth time this evening, by driving past Sandro and clipping a pass towards the penalty spot from the byline, but AGAIN nobody on the Zenit team is making any effort to get into the Porto box.
Porto will be disappointed not to be ahead in this game! Lucho and Varela's effort were worthy of winning any Champions League match, but sadly for Sousa and his side both attempts were thwarted by the woodwork.
THUNDEROUS STRIKE FROM VARELA! Porto strike the woodwork for the second time in the game, this time through their substitute Varela. He controlled a pass from Sandro on the edge of the box, shifted it on to his right, and then lashed a shot at goal that smashed off the crossbar with Lodygin flailing.
Spalletti's expression has ranged from displeased to furious over the course of this game. Zyryanov just had a great opportunity to shoot at goal from 20 yards but instead chose to pass the ball out to Ansaldi, much to his coach's blatant dismay.
Idiotic from Martinez! The Porto forward receives a yellow card after flying into the back of Smolnikov with the Zenit defender pinned back in his own half.
Yellow Card Jackson Martínez
Mangala has been imperious at the back for Porto in this game. The young centre-back just dispossessed the recently-introduced Kerzhakov before storming over the halfway line and starting an attack for his side.
The set piece is Hulk's, but his swirling effort flies into the palms of Helton, who stands in the centre of his goal and calmly stops the Zenit man's effort.
Yellow Card Lucho González
Lucho catches Hulk with a diving tackle on the Brazilian's latest excursion forward and Zenit have a free kick 35 yards from goal, just right of centre. I expect Hulk will dust himself down to take this one himself.
Considering the talent in this Zenit squad they should really not be looking like a one-man team, but at the moment everything dangerous is coming through Hulk.
Hulk rifles a shot goalwards from wide on the right-hand side and his dipping effort has Helton scrambling towards his left-hand post. He has to parry the ball once before collecting it safely. Hulk nearly caught him out there!
Shirokov and Zyryanov combine well in midfield for the Russian side but some robust play from Mangala soon stops that. The young Frenchman nipped in opportunistically to steal the ball from Zyryanov as he looked to control a return pass from Shirokov inside the Porto box.
Oh for the Arshavin of 2006-2008. The Russian's decline over the past few years has been depressing to watch. He was very poor again tonight.
Zenit make their first change of the game. The disappointing Arshavin is replaced by Konstantin Zyryanov.
Helton saves well from Hulk! The Porto shotstopper does well to deflect his former team-mate's 35-yard free kick away after the ball swung viciously in the air en route to goal.
GOOD DEFENDING FROM OTAMENDI! Shirokov dinks a pass towards Shatov, who has burst forward from midfield, but the ball is stopped mid-flight by Otamendi as the Argentine throws himself in front of Shatov to win it for the home side.
STAT: There have been 23 attempts in this game, 15 for Porto and eight for Zenit, but still the scoreline is goalless.
Shirokov attempts an outrageous overhead kick inside the Porto box after Ansaldi had dug out a cross from the left, but the Russia international's acrobatic effort is some way from troubling Helton.
HULK FLUFFS HIS LINES! The former Porto man has a wonderful chance to give Zenit the lead against the run of play after stealing the ball from Otamendi 30 yards from goal, but he is denied by Helton! Hulk nicked the ball from the Porto defender and had time to pick his spot, but his shot was too close to Helton, who managed to flick the ball wide with his left foot.
STAT: During his four seasons at Porto, Hulk helped them win four Primeira Division titles, three Portuguese Cups, two Super Cups and the 2011 Europa League, scoring 78 goals in 170 league appearances.
Varela's first involvement is a very positive one! The pacey attacker links well with Danilo on the right, before tricking his way into the box, cutting on to his left and then hammering a shot just wide. Martinez was screaming for a pass but Varela only had one thing on his mind after he had got into the Zenit penalty area there.
The hosts make the first change of the evening and it is quite a surprising one. Varela – who started in that defeat to Atletico – comes on for the impressive Lica.
Otamendi epitomises his side's approach to this game by straining every sinew in his right leg to hack the ball upfield as it looks to roll out for a corner to Zenit. Porto have wanted it more so far tonight.
Porto have started the second half in a similar vein to how they finished the first. They have seen most of the ball and have already threatened Lodygin's goal on a couple of occasions.
Lucho thunders an ambitious effort at goal from 20 yards as the corner is lofted to him by Danilo, but the ball bounces harmlessly wide of Lodygin's left-hand post and out for a goal-kick.
Strong play from Lica! The Porto man barges Neto out of the way to latch on to a loose ball and win a corner on the right for his side.
Mangala brings the ball out of defence for Porto but he is forced to turn round and pass it back to Danilo on the right. The hosts' forward momentum is only stalled momentarily though, as the full-back switches the play to Sandro, who picks out Lica in the box. The forward connects with the cross to head goalwards but Lodygin is able to catch the ball high to his left.
We are back underway in Portugal...
Spalletti. The Zenit dressing room. A rocket. Zenit's starting XI.
HALF-TIME: PORTO 0-0 ZENIT The referee's decision to send Porto's midfielder Herrera off on his Champions League debut looked to have handed the initiative to Zenit but they have failed to make the most of having an extra man, as Sousa's side have been superior in the opening half. Lucho came closest to scoring for the hosts, when he watched on as his swerving right-foot effort crashed against the post, while Josue whipped a free kick just over from 25 yards. Hulk has been the brightest player for the visitors, but the rest of them have looked fairly disinterested so far, with Shirokov in particular not performing anywhere near to his potential.
45' + 1'
And there is the half-time whistle!
Spalletti cuts an infuriated figure in the Zenit technical area. For the third time in this half Hulk has forced his way into the box and driven an inviting ball across goal but there have been no Zenit players making any effort to connect with the pass.
Lodygin claims the ball well under pressure from Martinez, as the Colombian forward looked to connect with Lucho's lofted pass forward from the centre circle. The Zenit shotstopper had to be quick off his line there.
Yellow Card Roman Shirokov
Shirokov is the latest Zenit player to have his name taken by the referee. His offence is a quite blatant one, as an outstretched leg knocks Danilo off course as the full-back tries to bound forward.
Danilo hurls a free kick from deep on the right into the Zenit box and Mangala does very well to beat Lombaerts in the air only to see his header go bouncing over the bar.
SHIROKOV CURLS A DELICIOUS EFFORT WIDE! The Russia international sets himself on the left side of the box before curling a shot towards goal that drifts a yard or so wide. Zenit actually had players in the box there for that attack. A first in this half I think. And look what happens, they nearly take the lead!
Did Zenit send 11 players out at the start of this game? Every time they go forward it looks like they are the team with the numerical disadvantage, not Porto.
Yellow Card Viktor Faizulin
Faizulin crunches into Fernando and the referee deems the Zenit midfielder's challenge to be a foul. I'm not sure about that one – it looked like he won the ball fairly. To compound matters for the visitors their holding midfielder is also shown a yellow card.
Hulk has been ploughing a lone furrow upfront for Zenit in this opening half. His team-mates are not exactly busting a gut to support him in attacking positions. On the latest occasion he was crowded out by four blue shirts on the edge of the box, with not a Zenit player in sight.
Martinez appears to have brought out the ferocious side of Neto following their earlier battles. The Zenit defender has just thundered into a challenge with Lica to win the ball and head it upfield to a team-mate.
Lucho dispossess Shirokov with a forceful challenge midway inside his own half. The Russia international did not seem aware of the Porto midfielder closing in on him. Perhaps he needed a call from a team-mate? It's been startling how Porto have been the more composed and dangerous team in this first half, despite having just 10 men on the pitch.
Igor Smolnikov is struggling on the near side after colliding with Sandro in front of the dugouts. Spalletti, meanwhile, is up on his feet gesturing furiously to his side. Smolnikov is getting no sympathy whatsoever.
A sloppy pass from Arshavin brings a promising Zenit attack to an abrupt close. The former Arsenal man had time and space but still chose to sweep a pass straight to Danilo at right-back for Porto.
STAT: Despite their loss to Atletico in the last round of Champions League games, the scale of Zenit's task is illustrated by the fact the Portuguese side are 75 games unbeaten at home in the Liga, since October 2008.
Porto to continue to threaten as the first half goes on. Lucho rumbles forward from midfield and shapes to shoot on the left side of the box but Lombaerts gets across to hammer the ball away before the Argentine can do so.
AWFUL FROM DANNY! The Portugal international smashes an effort high over Helton's crossbar from 18 yards after being teed up nicely by Arshavin.
Josue's inswinging cross is easily dealt with by Lombaerts though. The Belgian centre-back nods the ball upfield to nullify the danger for the away team.
And now they have another opportunity with a free kick 45 yards out, over on the left.
Spaletti looks deflated in the Zenit dugout. His team have got the numerical advantage here after Herrera's early dismissal but Porto are the side on top. They have looked comfortable with the ball in midfield and twice come close to scoring through Josue and Lucho.
STAT: That man Lucho has scored in each of the nine seasons he has appeared in the Champions League – six times for Porto and on three occasions for Marseille.
WHAT A STRIKE FROM LUCHO!! The Porto captain swerves a sublime effort at goal with the outside of his right foot but it crashes back off the right-hand post and Lica is unable to divert the rebound goalwards. Outrageous technique from the Argentine. What a player he is.
Again Martinez is using Neto as a climbing frame,and again the referee calls him up for it. The Porto striker needs to turn it down a notch, he is acting as a hindrance for his team in attacking areas at the moment.
Fernando nicks the ball from his former team-mate Hulk as the Zenit frontman threatens and proceeds to start an attack of his own for the hosts. A wayward touch from Josue causes it to break down though, and the ball rolls out for a throw-in to Luciano Spalletti's side.
Martinez is throwing his weight around for Porto, but on this occasion he is penalised for his blatant physicality as he flies into Neto while trying to win a header.
JOSUE WHIPS AN EFFORT JUST OVER!! Porto come within inches of taking the lead thanks to the instep of Josue's left boot. The attacker curled the effort over the Zenit wall – which was quite noticeably well-behaved – but it flew just over Lodygin's bar.
And now Porto have a free kick of their own! Cristian Ansaldi catches Lica as the attacker looks to be heading away from goal and the hosts have a set piece in a dangerous position.
HULK SCUFFS A SHOT WIDE!! The Brazilian forward does well to bring the ball down inside the Porto box after Mangala failed to adequately clear the ball. He pushed it past Nicolas Otamendi with the outside of his right foot before dragging an effort just wide of the right-hand post with his left boot from a tight angle.
How will Fonseca's side react to that? They had looked the brighter side in the opening exchanges until that powerful run from Hulk that drew Herrera's first booking and started the drama.
That was no nonsense refereeing from Paolo Tagliavento! Porto are a man down with this game not even 10 minutes old. A short-lived Champions League debut for Hector Herrera!
Hulk gets another bite at the apple, but this time his shot deflects off the wall and out for a corner. Again it looked like a Porto player was pushing forward before the Zenit man struck the ball, but this time play was allowed to continue.
Yellow/Red H. Herrera
HERRERA IS OFF!! The Porto midfielder gets a second yellow a minute after going into the book for encroaching at the set piece. The hosts are down to 10 men!
Yellow Card H. Herrera
GREAT PLAY FROM HULK!! The Zenit attacker bursts forward as the visitors counter from Porto's disappointing corner, and only a bundling challenge from the Champions League debutant Herrera can stop him. Zenit win a free kick 20 yards out and Herrera gets himself a yellow card.
Both Porto full-backs are pushing forward in the early stages at the Estadio do Dragao. Danilo put that cross in a few moments ago and Alex Sandro has just barged forward down the left before cutting in and winning a corner for his side with a shot that deflected off Lombaerts.
Jackson Martinez flicks a pass out to the overlapping Porto right-back Danilo, but the defender's cross is straight down the throat of Juri Lodygin in the Zenit goal and he claims the ball with a straightforward catch.
The Brazil international stuck his head into the Porto dugout and said hello to a few familiar faces just before kick-off. I'm not sure how I feel about that before the game has started!
Zenit get the ball rolling. Hulk, perhaps fittingly on his return to Porto, has the first touch of the game.
There's that gorgeous Champions League theme tune which means we are just moments away from kick-off over in Portugal.
ZENIT TEAM NEWS: Former Porto man Axel Witsel is ruled out through suspension, while Tomas Hubocan, Aleksandr Anyukov and Aleksandr Kerzhakov also miss out. Roman Shirokov replaces Witsel in midfield, while Christian Ansaldi, Luis Neto and Andrei Arshavin also come in to the starting line-up.
PORTO TEAM NEWS: Fonseca makes two changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Atletico a fortnight ago as Hector Herrera comes into the home team's midfield in place of Steven Defour, while Lica starts in attack at Silvestre Varela's expense.
SUBS: Vasyutin, Criscito, Hubočan, Zyryanov, Bystrov, Tymoshchuk, Kerzhakov
ZENIT (4-2-3-1): Lodygin; Ansaldi, Neto, Lombaerts, Smolnikov; Shatov, Fayzulin; Arshavin, Shirokov, Danny; Hulk
SUBS: Fabiano, Maicon, Fucile, Defour, Quintero, Ghilas, Silvestre
PORTO (4-3-3): Helton; Danilo, Otamendi, Mangala, Alex Sandro; Fernando, Herrera, Lucho; Josue, Lica, Martinez
Without further ado, let's have a peek at the two sides' starting XIs...
Porto lost at home against Atletico in the last round of games, which was their first defeat at home in 527 days. They would love to rediscover their form from last season's Champions League, when they won all four of their matches at the Estadio do Dragao.
Paulo Fonseca's side are looking to secure their second win in Group G, while their Russian opponents are hoping to achieve maximum points for the first time, having picked up just one point from their opening two games againt Atletico Madrid and Austria Wien.
There's your dose of drama, now let's get down to business. My name is Charlie Scott and you've stumbled across our LIVE coverage of the Champions League Group G clash between Porto and Zenit at the Estadio do Dragao.
It will be emotional. Hulk has made it clear in the build up that he will not celebrate if he scores against his former side for Zenit St Petersburg tonight. No doubt the hosts will be hoping his return is not an incredible one.
Givanildo Vieira de Souza is not a 1988 TV movie. He is a footballer. And he goes by the name of Hulk. Tonight, he will make his return to the Estadio do Dragao, and the club that signed him from Tokyo Verdy and provided him with a platform to shine on the world stage between 2008 and 2012.
The Incredible Hulk Returns was a 1988 TV movie loosely based on the Marvel comic books depicting the same character.
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