The Russian champions proved to be too strong for Paars-Wit and cruised to a 3-1 home win to hold on to their perfect record in the competition...Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg recorded their fifth consecutive Europa League victory thanks to goals from Alexey Ionov, Alexander Bukharov and Szabolcs Huszti. Anderlecht did their utmost to level the score in the remainder of the game, but the Brussels side scored only once via Kanu.
The home side started the match the better side of the two and they needed only twelve minutes to open the scoring. Danny released Ionov in space on the right and the Russian striker advanced to the penalty area before he applied a precise finish that fizzled past Silvio Proto and went in the near corner.
Zenit continued to dominate play and got chances to double the score via Alessandro Rosina and Konstantin Zyryanov, but neither managed to add his name to the score sheet.
Anderlecht got one big chance to level the score around the half-hour mark when young striker Romelu Lukaku showed up in a dangerous position. The attacker pulled the trigger from inside the box, but Vyacheslav Malafeev made a very good save to deny the 17-year-old.
Ionov then came close to making it 2-0 after the break before former Rubin Kazan striker Bukharov doubled Zenit's lead in the 65th minute. Playmaker Danny put in a wonderful chipped through-ball to release Bukharov behind Anderlecht's defence and in a one-on-one situation with Proto the striker made no mistake with his finish to make it 2-0.
The Russians didn't stop attacking after the second goal and came close to piling even more misery on Anderlecht more than once. However, Paars-Wit were lucky to see Rosina hit the crossbar, while Danny and Bukharov were both denied by excellent saves from Proto.
Anderlecht managed to peg one back via Brazilian forward Kanu, who headed home from close range in the dying minutes of the game. The Russian champions weren't impressed too much though and Szabolcs Huszti restored their two goal lead hardly one minute later.
Zenit St. Petersburg had already secured first spot in the table ahead of matchday 5 and still sit first in the table in Group G after their win over Anderlecht. They return to match action on December 16 when they take on AEK Athens.
Anderlecht have dropped to third spot in the table following Wednesday's results, but they can still make it to the next round if all results go their way on matchday 6. The Brussels side return to match action on Sunday evening when they travel to Zulte-Waregem.
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