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UEFA Champions League

  • October 24, 2012
  • • 17:00
  • • Stadion Petrovskij, Sankt-Peterburg (St. Petersburg)
  • Referee: I. Bebek
  • • Attendance: 19500
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Zenit St Petersburg - Anderlecht Preview: Both sides looking to kickstart floundering Champions League campaign

Zenit St Petersburg - Anderlecht Preview: Both sides looking to kickstart floundering Champions League campaign

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Luciano Spalletti's side have lost both of their group stage matches to date, but will fancy their chances against the Belgians, who have not won in this competition since 2005

  PROBABLE LINEUPS
ZENIT
  Porto
Malafeev
Anyukov, Hubocan, Lombaerts, Criscito
Faizulin, Witsel, Shirokov
Bystrov, Kerzhakov, Hulk
ANDERLECHT
 
Proto
Gillet, Kouyate, Nuytinck, Deschacht
Yakovenko, Kanu, Biglia, Jovanovic
Praet, de Sutter

Zenit will be looking to claim their first win of the Champions League campaign as they face off against Anderlecht in the first of their back-to-back Group C matches.

Following their matchday two home defeat at the hands of AC Milan, the Russians will be fully aware of how pivotal three points at the expense of their Belgian challengers could prove to be.

Head coach Luciano Spalletti as a full squad at his disposal (with the exception of Danny, a long-term absentee) and will look to unleash the full wealth of attacking talent at his disposal.

Anderlecht, meanwhile, will hope to bounce back from a heavy home defeat at the hands of in-form Malaga. The Belgian champions are missing strikers Matias Suarez and Cyriac to long-term injury and it is perhaps no coincidence that they have failed to register a goal thus far.

Another striker Dieumerci Mbokani has a broken nose, while Massimo Bruno has a toe injury.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Zenit conceded six goals in their first two games, the joint highest total in the group stage along with Nordsjællandand and Spartak Moscow.

  • The Russian side are the only team who were not caught offside in their first two matches.
  • Aleksandr Kerzhakov is Zenit’s top scorer with 7 goals in 11 appearances in all competitions.

  • Goalkeeper Silvio Proto is the only player to have featured in all 540 minutes of Anderlecht's campaign.
  • The Belgians are eight group stage matches without a win, since Vincent Kompany earned a 1-0 victory at Real Betis on December 6 2005 to end a record run of 12 group stage defeats.

  • Milan Jovanovic spent a total of two years in the Russian Premier League, representing Lokomotiv Moscow between 2004 and 2006.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
16Vyacheslav MalafeevGoalkeeper
2Alexander AnyukovDefender
4Domenico CriscitoDefender
6Nicolas LombaertsDefender
14Tomás HubocanDefender
-Roman ShirokovMidfielder
20Viktor FaizulinMidfielder
-Sergey SemakMidfielder
28Axel WitselMidfielder
11Aleksandr KerzhakovStriker
29HulkStriker
71Egor BaburinGoalkeeper
22Bruno AlvesDefender
-Aleksandar LukovicDefender
-Konstantin ZyryanovMidfielder
-Vladimir BystrovMidfielder
-Alexander BukharovStriker
99Maxim KanunnikovStriker
1Silvio ProtoGoalkeeper
3Olivier DeschachtDefender
35Bram NuytinckDefender
16Cheikhou KouyatéDefender
27Marcin WasilewskiDefender
5Lucas BigliaMidfielder
10KanuStriker
26Dennis PraetMidfielder
30Guillaume GilletMidfielder
14Milan JovanovićStriker
21Tom de SutterStriker
13Thomas KaminskiGoalkeeper
8Denis OdoiDefender
20Behrang SafariDefender
-G. MolinsMidfielder
77Oleksandr IakovenkoMidfielder
19Sacha KljestanMidfielder
70R. VargasMidfielder
Players to Watch
Aleksandr Kerzhakov
Aleksandr Kerzhakov
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
2 1 0 0
The 29-year-old Russian has been in excellent form this season, leading the scoring charts with seven goals in nine league games. He has yet to notch a goal in the Champions League this term, but in front of a partisan home crowd he will be hoping to make his mark at the expense of Anderlecht.
Dennis Praet
Dennis Praet
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 26
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Widely seen as the next great Belgian player, the 18-year-old was in fine form for his club over the weekend against Waasland-Beveren. A classy midfielder, Praet will be key to his side's chances of victory in Russia thanks to his ability to provide a link between midfield and attack.
Prediction
Zenit's defence has conceeded three goals in the previous two Champions League matches and it unlikely that they will be able to record a clean sheet. However, their superior firepower and home advantage should be enough to see them through in what will be a close-fought match.
Editor's Prediction
Zenit 2

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