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UEFA Champions League
December 11, 2013
• Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Wien
Referee: A. Stavrev
• Attendance: 37500
P. Hosiner 44', 51'
T. Jun 48'
R. Kienast 90'+
A. Kerzhakov 35'
Austria Vienna end Austria's run of 12 years without a Champions League win by defeating Zenit 4-1, but the visitors are through to the knockout stages despite just one victory in Group G and a haul of six points - place Napoli's failure with 12 into context! I'm Livio Caferoglu and it's goodbye from me!
90' + 3'
Assist Philipp Hosiner
90' + 3'
Goal Roman Kienast
GAME, SET AND MATCH!!!! Kienast wraps up a comprehensive victory for Austria Vienna by applying the finishing touches unopposed to a low cross in the box.
90' + 1'
Hulk goes again for the spectacular but blazes his strike into the stand behind Lindner's goal.
Three minutes of injury time will be played.
SHOULD BE 4-1... OR 5-1!!! Royer is in bundles of space in the box and is about to pull trigger, but Hubocan makes a desperate interception. Seconds later, they come again with the substitute, yet Lodygin is in the way this time around!
OH HULK!!! It's just not his day (or night even), as he does everything right in his build-up play, turning on a sixpence from Arshavin's pass before pulling off two nutmegs and striking the ball into the side-netting.
Smolnikov tries to be too clever on the edge of his box and eventually loses the ball. Nonetheless, he's been extremely lively since coming on - you can't fault his endeavour!
There's just five minutes left on the clock for Zenit to pull a dramatic comeback out of the proverbial hat.
It only goes from bad to worse for the man-mountain known as Hulk... the attacker is caught in the moment for a second as he lashes a speculative attempt high and wide. Not quite the match-winner today!
Yellow Card Hulk
Hulk caps his and his side's enigmatic performance by being booked for dissenting towards the referee. How very petulant of the Brazilian - it was only a corner to Vienna!
While Hubocan is busy enduring a nightmare display, Lombaerts has been far more accomplished, with his reading of the game excelling again as he clears a lobbed pass away, although he concedes a free kick in a similar position not long after.
HUGE CHANCE!!! Yet Zenit fail to make their efforts count for something again as moments after Hosiner comes a fraction within latching onto an inch-perfect through ball, Kerzhakov inexplicably blasts a shot over, with the goal at his mercy!
Credit to Zenit for attempting to fight back in these closing exchanges, but they still lack a discernible ruthless streak in their finishing. A header is guided towards goal this time, and Lindner scrambles to get his hands on the ball.
Yellow Card Emir Dilaver
And that's the first I've seen of Witsel in 71 minutes of football in Vienna tonight... the midfielder combines with his fellow big-money arrival of last year in Hulk by receiving a lay-off from the right, but he lifts his strike just over.
HOSINER HITS THE BAR!!! The striker blasts a volleyed attempt onto the stanchion, but it wouldn't have counted anyway as he dragged Criscito to the ground in the build-up to the move.
The tempo has descended into a lull as Austria Vienna consider their evening's work complete. Zenit are still on their way towards the last 16, but it's surely futile to suggest that their journey will carry on for much longer on the back of this showing.
Dilaver's night continues to go from strength-to-strength as he busts a gut to make it back to his box and head the ball the safety, with Ansaldi lurking in-behind from Hulk's looping cross.
SHOULD DO BETTER! Hulk finds himself with the ball at feet in the box following another Viennese slip before curling the ball into the orbit after umpteen unnecessary step-overs.
Zenit win their first corner of the second half through Hulk's blocked cross, but it amounts to nothing - in no part thanks to another sloppy delivery.
CLOSE!!! It probably looked closer in real-time than on the replay, but it's still a chance in Zenit's book as Zyryanov rifles home an attempt which swerves just wide of Lindner's trailing arm.
Zenit's defending has been non-existent since the interval, and Lombaerts spares his side's blushes after making a colossal intervention to block a cross which Hosiner was ready to tap in for 4-1! It's no surprise to see why the Russians have been in such abysmal form of late.
IT'S ALMOST A FOURTH!!! It's become embarrassingly easy for Austria Vienna, with Murg hesitating on the ball in the box before firing a weak shot at Lodygin who has effectively thrown away the match for Zenit at this rate.
Goal Philipp Hosiner
INCREDIBLE SCENES IN VIENNA!!!!! A double-goal salvo from the hosts as Hosiner reacts quickly to mop up Lodygin's save from the instrumental Mader's previous strike. How the tides have turned here!
It's also worth noting the fantastic diagonal pass from Mader to find the full-back. Could Austria Vienna end their nation's 12-year-long wait for victory in the Champions League tonight?
Assist Markus Suttner
Goal Tomáš- Jun
The Czech playmaker strikes Austria Vienna into the lead after finishing off Suttner's acute low cross! The Austrians are now level on points with Porto but will remain bottom of Group G due to their inferior head-to-head record.
Jun backs into Hubocan but fools the referee into awarding his side a free kick. The resulting strike is poorly dealt with as Lodygin's clearance only reaches so far... AND THERE'S A GOAL!!!!!
The match is restarted, with Zenit 45 minutes away from making up for last season's group-stage disappointment in the Champions League.
We're back out for the second half!
HALF TIME: Austria Vienna 1-1 Zenit.
Assist Marko Stankovic
Goal Philipp Hosiner
A LIFELIFE FOR AUSTRIA VIENNA... AND PORTO!!! It's a 10th successive match without a clean sheet for Zenit as Hubocan horribly miscontrols near his box from a quick free kick and is robbed by Hosiner who only has eyes for goal and powers a shot low and hard into the bottom left corner of Lodygin's net!
It's getting all too simple for Zenit now. Two fouls in quick succession from Dilaver and Rogulj only serve to highlight the gulf in class between the two sides tonight.
Porto are now two down, meaning it would take a near-miracle for Zenit to end up in the Europa League by the close of business tonight.
Yellow Card Manuel Ortlechner
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM!!! Ortlechner's lack of pace has become an alarming concern for Austria Vienna this evening, and he is shown the first yellow card of the night for his cynical clatter into Hulk in an advanced position on the right.
Murg shows impressive guile to win Austria Vienna a free kick at the expense of Zyryanov to the right of the box, but Mader's set-piece is poor and is cleared for a throw.
Goal Aleksandr Kerzhakov
GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL!!!!! And what an important one that could be as Kerzhakov capitalises on Ortlechner's slip by dashing past him and Lindner from Hulk's through pass before tucking away the finish. Zenit have all-but-reached the knockout stages!
Play resumes and Hosiner comes within a whisker away of meeting Murg's inswinging free kick!
A momentary delay is called by the referee to serve the best interests of the players' safety after a flare is launched in the stands, with the Austria Vienna fans the perpetrators.
Both coaches look on pensively from the touchline, with still all to play for in the remaining hour of action we have left!
OFFSIDE GOAL!! Holland loses the ball cheaply in midfield and Zenit probe forward in numbers, but Kerzhakov - despite his crisp, volleyed finish - is a yard off upon receiving Hulk's diverted cross.
Criscito has a great opportunity to pick out a team-mate in the box from the left but wastes his cross as it fails to beat the first man.
FROM NEAR-HERO TO NEAR-ZERO!!! Ansaldi is almost culpable for letting the hosts take the lead as he misjudges a cross and relies on Lodygin to push away Rogulj's point-blank header!
LINDNER WITH ANOTHER FINE SAVE! The shot-stopper makes a quick, instinctive block to deny Ansaldi after the full-back is found with a diagonal slide-rule pass. The Austria Vienna No.1 came off his line within a split second before smothering his opponent. Three in a row now!
THAT'S MORE LIKE IT! Hulk forces Lindner into a low stop with a powerful strike from the edge of the box, and Criscito follows it up with an angled drive central to goal which the hosts' keeper parries away with swagger.
The visiting crowd's spirits are immediately raised after the news of Raul Garcia's goal for Atletico Madrid to put Porto on the back foot is filtered through.
Zenit neatly string together a series of passes in and around their half before it is abruptly ended by a bizarre Criscito half-volley which flies over the stand!
Rogulj is a lucky boy after struggling to shake off unnecessary pressure from Fayzulin. However, the referee sympathises with the stopper and he wins his side a free kick.
HULK!!!! The forward eases his way past Suttner with a clean set of heels down the right-hand side but cannot find the right cross as it is instantly hacked away.
Hulk performs a give-and-go on the edge the box, but his dummy to release Kerzhakov is well read by the ex-Sevilla striker's marker.
WHAT A CHANCE!!! Zenit are let off big time as Jun expertly dummies a through ball in the final third to allow Hosiner to run onto the pass before playing a quick one-two with his team-mate, but the attacker can only shoot into the oncoming legs of Lodygin!
Lots of action is currently being played down the far flank, as Dilaver loops a deep cross into the Zenit box and must be dealt with by Criscito.
A quick stat for you lovely readers - Hulk's transfer fee cost an astounding *240* times the transfer budget of Austria Vienna's last summer!
Brief snapshot there from Hulk as, within the first minute, the Brazilian fires an effort just over the bar from some way out!
Zenit - in their all-white away strip - kick off proceedings in a right-to-left manner.
The players flood out onto the pitch and perform their customary pre-match rituals. Again, another Greenpeace banner to denounce Champions League and Zenit sponsor Gazprom is launched by an on-field protester shortly before being escorted away! That's the second time such an incident as happened in as many days.
Five minutes until the big kick-off now, we'll take this opportunity to analyse the key players on show. Austria Vienna's experienced Czech playmaker Tomas Jun is their only squad member to have achieved over 50 appearances in Uefa cup competitions, and all eyes will be on him to guide his side to an unlikely scalp. Zenit, on the other hand, have 10 with that distinction, and their dangerman will undoubtedly be Hulk, who has 12 goals in his last 18 appearances to finally show signs of justifying his mega price-tag.
... okay, it's not all bad! Nevertheless, if both themselves and Porto are unable to win tonight, then Luciano Spalletti's men will set a new record for the lowest point-haul ever needed to make the knockout stages in the Champions League with just six.
Zenit ended a run of seven matches without a win at the weekend, beating Ural 2-1 on home soil, and could make it back-to-back successes for the first time in two months if they overcome Austria Vienna. However, history could be made here tonight - and for all the wrong reasons...
Austria Vienna's debut campaign in Europe's premier club competition hasn't gone as smoothly as they would've hoped. A meagre accumulation of two points in five group matches have led to a premature elimination. However, they could rain on Zenit's parade if they secure a victory here tonight - one that would deny the visitors from progression to the last 16 if Porto fail to pick up a result at Atletico Madrid.
And in the other corner, the Russians: Lodygin; Criscito, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Ansaldi; Witsel, Zyryanov; Hulk, Shirokov, Fayzulin; Kerzhakov.
Before we maraud any further, let's take a look at the two teams - starting with the already-eliminated hosts for tonight's encounter: Linder; Stuttner, Ortlechner, Rogulj, Dilaver; Holland; Jun, Mader, Stankovic, Murg; Hosiner.
Hello and welcome to LIVE commentary of the Champions League clash between Austria Vienna and Zenit in Group G. I'm Livio Caferoglu - coincidentally your host for tonight's shenanigans in the Austrian capital!
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