VfB Stuttgart came away from the Petrovsky Stadium with a potentially vital away goal, but with a 2-1 defeat.VfB Stuttgart were greeted with harsh, wintry conditions in Russia with sub-zero temperatures and a near frozen pitch. They went behind as early as the second minute when Szabolcs Huszti fired Zenit St. Petersburg into the lead.
Mario Gomez got the visitors level on 15 minutes, but a super strike from Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in first-half stoppage time sealed a 2-1 win for last seasons UEFA Cup winners.
VfB trainer Markus Babbel admitted after the final whistle that despite the away goal he wasn’t that satisfied with the result.
"I have to pay my team a huge compliment for their competitiveness, but I cannot be happy with the result," he said.
"They were two unnecessary goals to concede. You simply cannot allow success to slip out of your grasp so easily. The pitch wasn't great, and we lacked a little little luck in the second-half," Babbel added.
"We wanted to exert pressure right from the kick-off, but that wasn't the case. But that is all experience that hopefully our younger player will take with them into the second leg.
"I hope we can turn it around in the second leg, but it is down to us."
The second leg takes place next Thursday at the Mercedes Benz Arena.
Mathew Burt, Goal.com