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UEFA Champions League
November 26, 2013
• Stadion Petrovskij, Sankt-Peterburg (St. Petersburg)
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 17885
T. Alderweireld 74' (own goal)
FT: ZEN 1-1 ATL - better than nothing. And Zenit had nothing for much of the game after a night of profligate finishing. Porto have the chance to leapfrog them later tonight, but all rests on matchday six.
90' + 4'
FULL-TIME: Zenit 1-1 Atletico Madrid.
90' + 3'
GABI!! Third shot, and the third one that goes way over the bar. Poor strike, a poor strike given the position he was in. Woeful.
90' + 2'
Zenit throwing everything at Atletico, Hulk forward. With Arshavin, but the defence holds strong.
Into the first of three additional minutes at Petrovsky.
Two minutes plus normal time for Zenit to put one foot in the last 16. They've been unable to still fashion an opening in the late stages, given a reprieve only by that Courtois clanger.
Koke fails to get past the Zenit defence, and before the ball falls to Adrian, Smolnikov gets it away. A poor pass from Bystrov curtails the move, however.
Hulk going right up until the end here to force through a winner. Gets past his marker, but the shot is wayward, and over the bar.
Yellow Card Raúl García
Raul Garcia totting up the fouls and after his latest challenge on Domenico Criscito, gets a yellow card for his efforts.
CHANCE FOR ATLETICO! Witself is down on the ground but Atletico continue. Oliver Torres with a fine pass forward for Raul Garcia. Lodygin makes a smart save to deflect the ball away.
Koke's delivery is flicked on by Adrian, as Lodygin claims. Martin Atkinon awards a free-kick to Zenit nonetheless.
SUBSTITUTION - Cristian Rodriguez is replaced by Oliver Torres.
Edging towards the final ten or so minutes at Petrovsky, and we are still level. Atletico are set to make a change here.
The crowd roars on Hulk who attempts to take on Brazilian counterpart Miranda. But he is unsuccessful as Zenit continue to plough forward. Ironically, they are still yet to convert one of their own chances tonight!
Well, well. Petrovsky is rocking! We have a quarter of an hour for Zenit to somehow bag another goal. A draw won't be fatal, but they'll want a win for the best possible chance to qualify.
Own Goal Toby Alderweireld
GOAL!! ZENIT 1-1 Atletico! Woah, we are level! It's right out of the blue there. Courtois - renowned for his cool and calmness at the back has made a huge error. Smolnikov's delivery is deflected off of Alderweireld. Courtois misjudges the flight of the ball and it lands in off the post and the crossbar.
Zenit have had a host of opportunities from corner kicks this evening, but like the rest of them, the latest one is gathered easily by Thibault Courtois.
ARSHAVIN! The frustration continues. The former Arsenal man is fed into a bit of space, and has a chance to test Courtois. Instead, he kicks the pitch, and the ball goes well wide of the goal.
HULK!! Another decent opening, but no power this time. The winger cuts in on his left after Juanfran fails to deal with Criscito's burst forward. Courtois takes the save easily.
Kerzhakov has just not been at the races tonight. Hulk the threatening force on the wing, but the communication with the forward is boor.
Another audacious effort from Raul Garcia in midfield. The Spanish midfielder bosses Shatov off of the ball in midfield, races forward, and beats not only Lodygin, but also the goal. Not the best effort.
GABI! Atletico are queuing up for the shot as the Zenit defence crumbles. Cristian Rodriguezz tees up the midfielder, who - like in the first half, fires well over the bar.
Spalletti throwing on two attacking midfielders as Zenit try to chase the game. Arshavin, you will remember, struck a key winner in the second half for Arsenal against Barcelona two years ago.
SUBSTITUTION - Zenit: Roman Shirokov departs, to be replaced by Andrey Arshavin.
SUBSTITUTION - Zenit: Viktor Fayzulin departs for Vladimir Bystrov.
Criscito with a rough challenge on Juanfran - and on the Zenit bench, Spalletti is set to ring the changes with less than half an hour to go.
That was the chance for Zenit! A poor effort, which summarises their woes in front of goal this evening. Hulk does well to lift the ball into the box. Picked up at the far end by Shatov, who in turn delivers back into the box. Kerzhakov gets on the end of it, but heads over! Shatov should've struck that.
Guilavogui becoming more and more useful in the middle of the park, getting in front of any Zenit attempt in the final third. Atletico crowding out the opposition.
As it stands - Atletico go ten points clear with 15. Zenit have just five, with Porto on 4, and Austria Wien propping up Group G with one. Porto will likely beat the Austrian champions later, and second place is up for grabs!
Spalletti's side are without answers, stunned by their own profligacy. Hulk tees up Witsel but there is no clear connection with the loose ball. Poor effort.
Zenit race forward, looking to recover from that sucker punch. Hulk with a neat run on the edge of the area. Blocked behind by Insua. Corner to Zenit.
RAUL GARCIA! Audacious effort from distance, and it clips the top of the crossbar, and out for a goal-kick. Atletico revving into life here at Petrovsky!
And Atletico lead! Horror for Zenit, who need victory to at least, be in prime position to qualify for the last six. They've been dominating for the entire match so far, but unable to really push themselves in the finish.
Assist Raúl García
GOAL!!! Zenit 0-1 ATLETICO - ADRIAN!!! He's had a well documented drought, but Adrian hits two in two games! Zenit stunned as the Spaniards go ahead with their first real chance of the game. Raul Garcia with a superb assist, Adrian races in off the left and slides under Lodygin!
CHANCES FOR ZENIT! It's just not going in for them at all. Witsel, Hulk, Kerzhakov are all up for the hosts and see Courtois make one save, with the rest being blocked by the defences. How frustrating. And Atletico counter!
Koke! He's having chances, but not testing Lodygin at all. Does well to cut in on his left but the power is minimal, and it's a good stop by Lodygin at the end.
Shirokov is a bit stop-start with his performance tonight so far, and so it tells again. Has the chance to take on Insua in midfield, but the left-back holds his ground well and manages to succeed with the tackle.
Already end to end this half. Shirokov tees up Kerzhakov, who is making a run on the right However, the forward slips on the edge of the area, and the ball flies harmlessly out of play.
And Atletico break through Cristian Rodriguez. He has options on his left, but appears to go alone. However, he stumbles with the ball under his feet, and the Zenit defender tracking back has a chance to clear away.
HULK!! Great chance for the hosts, and Courtois is equal to it once more! Fantastic effort, though it wasn't directed with accuracy at all. On the edge of the area, Hulk powers a shot goalwards, and it is parried by Courtois.
Zenit need to convert chances into goals in this half. Failure to win, coupled with an expected Porto victory over Austria Wien later tonight will see the Portuguese side take control of the fight for second place.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY! Atletico get us going again at Petrovsky, where the temperatures are well below freezing.
HT: ZEN 0-0 ATL -- half-time at Petrovsky. Zenit have had the lion's share of - pretty much, everything - in that first half, but they've failed to convert the host of chances that came their way. Atletico distinctly second best, but not out of it.
The sides are out for the second half. No changes to report at the break.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME: Zenit 0-0 Atletico Madrid.
45' + 1'
KOKE!! Great effort from the midfielder. A nice volley right on the edge of the area, a fabulous turn. It's at a decent height for Lodygin, and that should be that.
Witsel with a foul on Gabi, and Atletico have an opportunity to get something at the end of this first half.
Oleg Shatov with the delivery this time, taking over from Hulk. Different player, same outcome as Courtois gets a take on the set-piece. We're edging towards half-time in St Petersburg.
Corner to Zenit. Another decent move from the hosts, as Criscito makes an unchecked run into the box, teeing up Fayzulin for the shot - which is blocked by Juanfran.
Criscito gets forward and picks out Hubocan, who in turn finds Hulk with a superb pass on the right wing. Atletico hold their shape, but only briefly, before conceding a throw-in.
It's all been the Russian side in this first half so far, bar one or two half-chances for Diego Simeone's side. Koke loses the ball on the far side, and he's been rather invisible for much of the first period.
Another corner to Zenit. Drilled in by Hulk, and headed away. The hosts retain possession through a good block from Fayzulin, but Juanfran beats Hulk to the loose effort.
Zenit lead the possession count 66%-34% as we approach half-time in Petrovsky.
The offside flag curtails Shirokov's movements in the Atletico penalty box. It's a sustained bit of pressure here, as the delivery out wide is a good one. Shirokov is slightly offside as he gets a head to it, outjumping Alderweireld.
Corner to Zenit after an effective counter. Delivered in by Hulk - though, once more, it isn't a clear-cut opportunity, as the ball lands at the feet of Guilavogui, who gets it away.
Atletico begin to gain a bit of assertiveness in midfield, as Raul Garcia and Josuha Guilavogui combine in midfield. They lose possession and again, Zenit have the chance to hit them where it hurts.
Corner to Zenit. Oleg Shatov's delivery is neat, towards the back post after it is helped on, but Witsel cannot get the header goalbound, before it is cleared away.
Better from Zenit, who are turning the screw here. Smolnikov with a decent delivery into Shatov who prepares to pull the triger, but it is well blocked by Juanfran for the corner.
Chance for Zenit! Not the best delivery from Shirokov as Nicolas Lombaerts gets he header onto that, but it loops over the goal and out.
Yellow Card Juanfran
YELLOW CARD - Juanfran: The right-back hauls down the Zenit midfielder Shatov, who tried his best to free himself of the defender's shackles. He will miss Atletico's sixth and final group game.
CHANCE FOR ATLETICO!! Lovely through ball from Adrian who tees up Rodriguez. Lodygin rushes out and gets a connection with the ball, but the pace of it is too much for Rodriguez to tap into an empty net.
Corner to Atletico after Hubocan's sliced clearance gives the visitors the best chance to create something at the other end. Cue the boos from the home stand, but Lodygin claims Koke's corner.
Zenit with another decent half-chance on the right wing, as Hulk's delivery is headed away by Miranda. Much of the play has been in the opposition half so far.
Hulk forced to play backwards after being crowded out by the Atletico midfield. Again, no definitive runs on the overlap, or through the middle, as Guilavogui and co. block the Brazilian's path.
Atletico are firmly on the back foot in the last few minutes, but Spalletti's men aren't making the most of their advantage in possession now. No great communication on the wings.
The fouls beginning to tot up here, as Zenit begin to see more of the ball in the opposition half. Gabi this time with a challenge on Oleg Shatov, but the Russian side are improving.
Disappointing from Zenit. Fantastic burst through from Shatov. Hulk finds Smolnikov making a fine run on the overlap, but Kerzhakov moves backwards, and no one is there to latch onto the pass! Poor!
KERZHAKOV! Couldn't manage a clean connection. Another half-chance for Zenit as Hulk's delivery catches the defence unawares. Kerzhakov attempts to try and lift the ball past Courtois, but the Belgian claims easily.
Cross comes in from the right by Cristian Rodriguez, but it's a lovely take by Lodygin as Zenit prepare another offensive. Beginning to open up here.
Lombaerts sloppy at the back, conceding an easy free-kick for a challenge on Garcia. It allows the Spanish side to progress on the wings, and they may apply some pressure on the hosts here.
Great awareness from the young Thiabult Courtois who makes a big save there to keep the match goalless. A top effort from Hulk, full of power, as Witself failed to connect with the rebound.
HULK!! What a chance for Zenit, and what a save by Courtois!! The Brazilian is passed into space and fires a shot through the middle, with Courtois having to punch it away. Alderweireld clears hurriedly!
Atletico are hoping to win for the fourth time in a row in Europe away from home tonight. Defeat for Zenit will ensure that they face a fight to qualify ahead of the last round of games.
Victor Fayzulin concedes the foul after a challenge on Rodriguez, as the move breaks down. Neither side have really got going yet - but Zenit have been known to improve gradually under these conditions.
Zenit now applying some attacking momentum through Shatov, who utilises the space behind the midfield to try and link through Kerzhakov, but Alderweireld is on hand to deny them the chance.
Zenit bring the ball away, through Axel Witsel, who gets clattered into by Miranda near the halfway line. The Belgian looks hurt, but should be OK to continue.
Kerzhakov races forward, aiming to connect with the ball on the left, before the defender gets it away. Guilavogui now with possession, but the Spaniards don't look like retaining it.
Atletico struggling with the conditions here in the opening stages, as Gabi goes in hard on Domenico Criscito, as the hosts win a free-kick.
Nice movement from Zenit who begin to advance. Hubocan combines well with Shirokov on the edge of the area, passing it with pace, before it is cleared by Atletico.
GABI! First opportunity of the game, on the half-volley. Criscito diverts the ball into the path of the midfielder, who skies his effort just over Lodygin's goal.
Sloppy early play from Atletico, who have misplaced one or two passes already. Adrian moving gingerly, before Smolnikov concedes a free-kick for a challenge on Emiliano Insua.
KICK-OFF - Zenit get us going, attacing from right to left. Can they get the victory that will push them closer to the last 16?
The Champions League anthem comes and goes, and we are ready to kick-off at a Petrovsky Stadium where it is -6 tonight. The referee is from England, Martin Atkinson.
Reminder: Zenit will qualify if they beat Atletico Madrid, and hope Porto fail against Austria Wien, which kicks off at 20:45 CET. The teams are out here in Russia, though.
TEAM NEWS: Zenit are without the injured Danny, with Cristian Ansaldi also on the sidelines for the hosts. Atletico make four changes from the side that won at the weekend, with Adrian leading the line tonight.
Atletico Madrid: Courtois, Alderweireld, Juanfran, Insua, Miranda, Koke, Raúl García, Rodríguez, Gabi, Guilavogui, Adrián López SUBS: Aranzubia, Manquillo, Giménez, Lucas, Óliver Torres, Baptistão, Ndoye.
Zenit: Lodygin, Criscito, Lombaerts, Hubočan, Smolnikov, Shirokov, Shatov, Fayzulin, Witsel, Hulk, Kerzhakov SUBS: Baburin, Neto, Khodzhaniyazov, Zyryanov, Bystrov, Tymoshchuk, Arshavin.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Atletico Madrid warmed up for this fixture - literally, given the freezing conditions in Russia - with a thumping 7-0 victory over Getafe at the weekend.
Zenit can take heart from their home record in Europe, with no side able to beat them here since AC Milan last October. Nevertheless, an undefeated Atletico are their sternest test since that match over a year ago.
Yes, the Russian champions have failed to win in their last five, going down to FC Rostov in their weekend clash - their first home reverse at Petrovsky this season. Nevertheless, a victory tonight will see them go through, should they better Porto's result against Austria Wien later tonight.
Luciano Spalletti's Zenit meanwhile go into tonight's game with a double aim. Arrest a poor run of form with no wins in their last five, as well as beating the Spanish side to progress alongside them this evening.
Atletico Madrid have already qualified for the last 16 courtesy of a perfect record in Group G. They managed a 4-0 rout of Austria Wien in their last group game earlier this month.
Good evening and welcome to live coverage of the Champions League encounter between Zenit Saint-Petersburg and Atletico Madrid at the Petrovsky Stadium in St Petersburg. I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'll be providing you with the updates tonight.
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