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UEFA Champions League
November 6, 2013
• Stadion Petrovskij, Sankt-Peterburg (St. Petersburg)
Referee: T. Hagen
• Attendance: 17786
L. González 23'
That wraps up our live-text commentary and I sincerely hope you enjoyed our coverage. Until next time, take care, everyone!
Lucho Gonzales opened the scoring for Porto but Hulk capitalised on a defensive mix-up to hit back almost instantly. The Brazilian then missed a penalty in the second half, however, and the end result was a pulsating 1-1 draw. Zenit stay second with five points, while Porto, who are third with four points, will have to hope that the Russian side slip up.
What a second half! It was end-to-end football throughout as Porto threatened to seal the points - and then Zenit did exactly the same. The home side, of course, missed a penalty after the break and could have been awarded a second penalty - nay, should have been! But the visitors dominated for most of the encounter, so Luciano Spalletti's side cannot hold too many complaints.
FULL-TIME! It ends 1-1! Zenit will be delighted with that, on balance!
90' + 3'
SAVE! Helton saves the free kick as Porto urge their forwards to take advantage up the other end.
90' + 3'
FOUL! Nicolas Otamendi commits yet another foul and Hulk has another chance to win this...
90' + 2'
Agony! Martinez is through up front but slips before he can take the ball forward! At the other end, Hulk gets involved again as he breaks forward and whips a lovely cross across goal - but it is cleared.
90' + 1'
Replays confirm that Hulk should have had a penalty...
Yellow Card Konstantin Zyryanov
A chance straight up the other end as Lodygin is forced into a save! I repeat: anyone's game here.
But penalty appeals for Zenit! Hulk is at large again as he drives forward and is brought down by Mangala! The referee waves away the protests, though.
It looks as though Porto are going for it - and they need to. Without a win tonight, it doesn't look good for them.
WHAT A CHANCE! Ansaldi wins the ball a couple of yards away from the penalty area and flashes an unbelievable volley low to Helton's left. It goes just wide! What a thunderous drive that was, though..
Yellow Card Oleg Shatov
BLOCKED! Kerzhakov hits it straight at the wall.
FOUL! Hulk is brought down on the edge of the area. Another set-piece chance for the home side...
We are into the dying stages now. Can Porto put something together in these late stages after controlling the game for such large periods?
They can still go on to win this, however, as the likes of Arshavin and Hulk seem keen to do.
How this result will please Zenit - and they deserve it a lot more after this second half. And to think, they could have been 2-1 up had Hulk converted the earlier penalty...
Hulk advances down the left now and tries to cross the ball into the area. It is cleared, though.
Anyone's game here...
What scenes! Varela advances forward but is tackled by Arshavin of all people. He is everywhere at the moment! Straight up the other end, though, Danilo makes an equally impressive challenge after Witsel turns in the box and tries to unleash a shot.
Coach Paulo Fonseca has repsonded to this spell of pressure by replacing Josue with Lica - let's see how that will change things. If it does at all...
As if they have been subjected to a role reversal, the visitors now look panicky and are resorting to long, uncalculated balls up the pitch.
It is all Zenit now - and this is the first time that could have been said today!
BIGGER CHANCE! Kerzhakov now backheels the ball wonderfully to Arshavin after receiving the ball from Hulk. The Russian, however, one-on-one with Helton, sends his shot to the near post but the Porto goalkeeper produces a wonderful save!
CHANCE! Kerzhakov curls a shot over the bar from the edge of the area after being played in by Shatov. Arshavin's introduction seems to have helped his side massively here.
Hulk almost gets onto the end of a cross now! But the Brazilian is put off by Sandro. Who created the move? Arshavin yet again. What an impact he has made!
Arshavin is involved again as he powers forward and unleashes a shot on the edge of the area! It is blocked, though, and the move ends - unfortunately for the Russian - in a free kick conceded by Arshavin himself.
CHANCE! Martinez then has a go of his own at the other end and forces a good save from Lodygin down low!
And the Russian's first movement almost ends in a chance as he sends a cross into the area! It is missed by everyone in the box, however.
Oh hello! Andrey Arshavin comes on for Roman Shirokov!
The crowd's noise levels increase now as they sense their side need more support. The visitors are looking lively once again - and a late winner for them could destroy Zenit's hopes of progression to the knockout stage.
SANDRO! The Porto man runs forward down the left and flashes a drive over the bar. He may have been poor defensively today - but Sandro has been rather lively going forward.
What a poor half it has been from Hulk... The Brazilian hits a far from incredible shot yards over the bar.
FOUL! Zenit show their counterattacking brilliance once again as Hulk breaks free in the Porto half. But the Brazilian is brought down by Sandro, who receives a booking for his efforts! Hulk is now set to take the resultant free kick.
Yellow Card Alex Sandro
Porto continue to press through Danilo and Varela now and the pattern of the first half seems to have resumed.
Eliaquim Mangala rises from the resultant set-piece but his header is saved!
CORNER! It's end-to-end football now as Varela sprints down the left-hand side and into the area. His cross is blocked and Porto win another corner.
Yellow Card Fernando
The ensuing set-piece brings nothing but the visitors continue to press. Swings and roundabouts in this second half!
CHANCE! Well, the away side are certainly capitalising on any potential dip in confidence. Varela it is who gets the ball on the edge of the area and drives towards goal. The shot is blocked and out it goes for a corner.
How will that incident affect the momentum of the game? Zenit have clearly gained the ascendancy but will Helton's save shift it back to the visitors?
Missed Penalty Hulk
Penalty save Helton
SAVE! It's a poor spot-kick from Hulk as the brazilian tries to place the ball to his left. Helton dives low to his right and collects the ball with ease. Big chance missed for the home side.
PENALTY TO ZENIT! It's Shatov down the left-hand side causing all the trouble. The midfielder cuts inside and delivers a cross but it hits an arm and the spot-kick is given!
CHANCE! Kerzhakov and Hulk combine to tee up Shatov, who turns and shoots towards his near post. The ball flies narrowly wide but, suddenly, Zenit are looking like the team in control during this second half. Has Luciano Spalletti's half-time talk done the trick?
Hulk is now involved with a clash of heads and goes down. He is able to continue, though, and it does not look anywhere near as serious as the incident with Tottenham's Hugo Lloris the other day.
Helton is tested once again! This time, the goalkeeper comes straight out to deal with a loose ball. Had he done that in the first half, the away side would still have the lead.
Can Zenit take a huge step towards qualification by sealing a win here? Or will Porto continue their first-half dominance?
And we're up and running in Russia again!
Stay with us for the second half!
Calamitous defending at the other end made it level, however, as Hulk muscled into the area and stole a ball that should either have been claimed by goalkeeper Helton or full-back Alex Sandro. As such, it is 1-1 at the break - with everything still to play for.
So it's all square at the break - but how unlucky is that for the visitors. Porto have been utterly dominant so far, taking the lead through a wonderful Lucho Gonzales header (after an even better cross from Danilo).
HALF-TIME! Zenit 1-1 Porto.
45' + 1'
Josue sends another free kick into the penalty area but it is wasted by the recipient. The visitors will be disappointed to be going into the break level here.
CHANCE! Porto have other ideas, however, as Josue sends a sweeping free kick into the area and Martinez clips it towards goal. Goalkeeper Lodygin this time reacts well, though, stopping the ball in its tracks.
The noise level rises as the crowd urge the home side on - but it looks as though any attempts to regain the lead will have to wait until the second half.
Both sides now seem content to knock the ball around in the middle of the park until half-time. What will each manager have in store during their respective team-talks?
One of our readers has praise for Fernando, urging Arsene Wenger to consider purchasing him for Arsenal. He's certainly looked reasonable today. "Wenger look at Fernando, he's solid, disciplined and has a decent touch."
Zenit are most certainly showing their worth on the break, though - as much as that makes them seem like the away team.
CHANCE! Hulk plays a delicious ball into Kerzhakov on the counterattack and his cross comes to Shirokov. After a couple more passes, Viktor Faizulin receives the ball and shoots from range, though it goes straight to Helton.
But they still cannot penetrate the Russian side's back line.
It is still the away side with all the possession, however. Ansaldi now brings Varela down in frustration and a free kick is given in the Zenit half.
POOR! Josue finds space in the opposing half but sends an awful shot way wide of the target. He should have squared the ball to a team-mate.
The visitors, for now at least, look bereft of ideas. This scoreline will suit Zenit a lot more.
Criscito now gives the ball away to Fernando and the visitors engineer a move that sends them all the way into the Zenit penalty area. Lucho is key to the build-up but, when he receives the ball back, his shot from distance sails over the bar.
Well, Porto are continuing as before, so it looks like Zenit have yet more pressure to face.
Has the Brazilian put an end to his former side's dominance? The hosts look much more comfortable now that they are on the scoreboard.
Assist Roman Shirokov
GOAL! Zenit hit straight back! What poor defending! Shirokov sends a ball into the box and Hilton and his defenders hesitate, with Hulk using his strength and pace to barge in and steal the ball, before finishing into an empty net. The Russian side do not deserve to be level here but they are. Such is life.
CHANGE! Alexander Kerzhakov replaces Danny, who looks to have a calf injury. The Russian himself has been suffering from injury, however.
Lucho's header puts an end to the series of poor finishes that preluded it - but goalkeeper Lodygin should have made more of an effort.
Zenit still look shellshocked as Danny and Witsel link up down the left-hand side. Witsel does beat his man but then wastes his cross and Porto clear all too easily.
And Porto are not settling with a one-goal lead. They want more!
What a header from Lucho Gonzales - and it is nothing less than Porto deserve. The bulk of the work was done by Danilo, who got the ball down the right-hand side and delivered a superb cross. Lucho did the rest with an inch-perfect header into the far corner.
Goal Lucho González
GOAL! Porto take the lead!
Varela now shoots over for the visitors and, with over 20 minutes gone so far, it has to be said: the finishing has been poor so far.
Shot for Zenit! Hulk takes a strike but it rolls harmlessly wide. The Brazilian is, of course, facing his former side.
Varela has landed awkwardly, however, and play is stopped as he nurses a back strain. He looks fine to continue.
Juri Lodygin gives the ball away in a dangerous area! But Josue cannot capitalise and Zenit are able to use the chance to venture into the Porto half.
It really has been a dominant display from the away side so far. They have enjoyed 68% of possession.
SHOT! Danilo now sends a drive in from distance - but the strike cannot dip underneath the crossbar and goes over.
Silvestre Varela now surges down the left wing but Ansaldi cleverly draws a foul out of him and the home side are off the hook.
Nothing comes of the free kick but Zenit look rattled. Their only outlet so far has been long balls upfield. The visitors have made them look average.
FOUL! The home crowd are not happy as Danny is brought down but nothing is given. The protests grow as Josue is brought down by Dominic Criscito and a free kick is awarded. Both decisions looked to be correct.
Josue now knocks the ball down to Martinez but the forward is harrassed by a group of Zenit defenders, who then clear their lines.
Porto's early attempts to break the deadlock seem to have been in vain as the game now slows to a more reasonable pace - one Zenit will most certainly prefer. The away side still have the upper hand, however.
The home side seem to be slowly settling now as Shatov and Hulk combine to play in Christian Ansaldi. The full-back's cross goes straight into the hands of Helton, though.
But a maiden chance for Zenit now! Roman Shirokov launches a long ball upfield and Hulk tees up Axel Witsel. The forward blasts his shot way over the bar, however.
Steven Defour now links up with Sandro down the left. It has been all Porto so far.
CHANCE! Danilo takes a couple of touches and curls a long left-footed strike at goal. The Zenit goalkeeper gets his hands to it but almost spills it into his own net!
Alex Sandro now ventures forward down the left-hand side and beats Oleg Shatov to the ball in the Zenit penalty area. It is cleared - but the ball goes straight back to the Portuguese side in the opposing half.
Josue has also been heavily involved so far and now sees a long-range effort deflected out for a corner by Nicolas Lombaerts. Porto look very determined at the moment.
The home side try to pump the ball up the other end of the field and play Hulk in - but Porto do well to retrieve the ball straight back and win a free kick in the Zenit half. They are not allowing their Russian counterparts a chance to breathe in the opening minutes here.
Lucho Gonzales gets Martinez involved once again, feeding the ball through to him in the penalty area. The move ends with a defensive clearance, however.
The opening exchanges have seen some encouraging attacking movement from the visitors - notably Jackson Martinez.
We're underway in Russia! With a quite boisterous atmosphere...
The Champions League anthem has sounded and we are almost set!
It is still all to play for in St Petersburg, however, and kick-off is just minutes away. Stay with us!
Zenit won the first clash between these two sides by a solitary goal in Portugal, which is a key reason for why they are currently above Porto in the table. The Portuguese club were reduced to 10 men and the Russian Premier League leaders took full advantage.
Qualification from Group G is very much on the cards for both sides tonight - with today's clash perhaps being the key fixture in deciding either team's fate. Zenit are second in the group with four points, while Porto sit just behind on three points. Atletico Madrid, of course, top the standings with nine points and look set to qualify.
And the visitors will look like this: Helton; Danilo, Mangala, Sandro, Otamendi; Gonzalez, Josue, Fernando, Defour; Martinez, Varela. Subtitutes: Fabiano, Maicon Pereira Roque, Reyes, Lica, Agu, Ghilas, Pereira.
Let's begin with team news for the big clash, starting with Zenit: Lodigin; Ansaldi, Criscito, Lombaerts, Hubocan; Danny, Shirokov, Shatov, Faizulin, Witsel; Hulk. Substitutes: Baburin, Neto, Anyukov, Zyryanov, Arshavin, Tymoshchuk, Kerzhakov.
Good afternoon and welcome to live-text commentary of Zenit versus Porto in the Champions League. I'm your host Tim Poole and I'll be guiding you through the action in Russia so sit back and enjoy the spectacle. All eyes will be on this one.
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