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Key Events

88'
A. Zabolotnyi
M. Ozdoev
85'
C. Bacca
Gerard Moreno
78'
Santi Cazorla
Pablo Fornals
76'
I. Smolnikov
Yellow Card
75'
Hernani
S. Azmoun
72'
O. Shatov
R. Mak
72'
S. Cáseres
Manu Morlanes
71'
Manu Morlanes
Goal
68'
Miguelón Llambrich
Yellow Card
64'
Pablo Fornals
Assist
64'
Gerard Moreno
Goal
Kick Off
37'
W. Barrios
Yellow Card
35'
R. Mak
Assist
35'
S. Azmoun
Goal
33'
Álvaro González
Assist
33'
Vicente Iborra
Goal
14'
Jaume Costa
Yellow Card
Kick Off
3
2
3
2

Stats

Possession
% %
2
3
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 4 8
Total Passes 363 551

Commentary

That concludes our live coverage of a morale-boosting victory for Villarreal. We hope to have your company again soon. Until then, it's goodbye for now!
Villarreal are now in the box seat to advance to the quarter-finals. Zenit will likely have to score three unanswered away goals when the teams reconvene for the second leg in Spain next Thursday. That's an improbable proposition based on what we've just seen.
If you were unaware of the form lines ahead of this match, you would be shocked to learn Villarreal are the ones fighting against relegation domestically. Head coach Calleja made a raft of changes, seemingly acknowledging that securing survival in LaLiga is the primary focus, yet his team went out and controlled the match from the outset, scoring first through Iborra. Azmoun equalised for Zenit before the break, but two goals in seven second-half minutes from Moreno and Morlanes secured the visitors a convincing 3-1 victory in Saint Petersburg.
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: ZENIT 1-3 VILLARREAL
90' + 3' The ball is again lobbed into Villarreal's box without a specific purpose behind it. Fernandez has been given far too little to do in enemy territory.
90' + 1' We've entered the first of five minutes of stoppage time in Saint Petersburg. Villarreal continue to lead 3-1 over hosts Zenit.
90' Hernani lines up a long-range strike but it rolls safely into Fernandez's grasp.
A. Zabolotnyi
M. Ozdoev
Zenit
88' One final change now for Zenit as Zabolotnyi steps on in place of Ozdoev.
88' Zenit almost seem content to let this game run its course without really rolling the dice. The imposing Dzyuba has struggled to make much of the high balls hoisted in his general direction.
C. Bacca
Gerard Moreno
Villarreal
85' More trouble for Zenit with Villarreal throwing on experienced striker Bacca for the closing stages. Moreno, scorer of his team's second goal, makes way.
83' Calleja's men are stroking the ball around with ease now. Zenit appear bereft of belief at this stage.
81' Zenit, trailing by two goals on home soil, have less than 10 minutes to give themselves something to cling onto for the return encounter.
Santi Cazorla
Pablo Fornals
Villarreal
78' This is a luxury for Villarreal. They're able to inject Cazorla at 3-1 up and with just over 10 minutes to play. Fornals, the man he replaces, deserves a lot of credit for putting the Spanish side in this position.
I. Smolnikov
Yellow Card
Zenit
76' Smolnikov leaves Costa in a heap on the floor and Zenit are up to two bookings.
Hernani
S. Azmoun
Zenit
75' Semak looks to Brazilian midfielder Hernani for inspiration, withdrawing Azmoun after a mixed showing.
O. Shatov
R. Mak
Zenit
72' Mak's match comes to a close with Shatov his replacement for the final 18 minutes of normal time.
S. Cáseres
Manu Morlanes
Villarreal
72' That well-taken goal caps an outstanding performance from Morlanes and his reward is a breather. Caseres comes on in the midfielder's place.
Manu Morlanes
Goal
Villarreal
71' GOALL!! Villarreal are in full command now! Morlanes picks up a half-clearance around 20 yards out and dips a tidy strike just beyond Lunev, who might feel as though he should have got more than a fingertip to that. The visitors are cruising at 3-1.
69' Ivanovic's firm header from the resultant free-kick - taken by Mak - is directed straight at Fernandez.
Miguelón Llambrich
Yellow Card
Villarreal
68' Miguelon sticks out a foot, catches Kuzyaev on the back of the ankle and becomes the third player to receive a caution.
67' There is still a long way to go in this match and another 90 minutes to play out in Spain, but that Moreno header may well be remembered as the moment Villarreal punched their ticket to the quarter-finals.
Pablo Fornals
Assist
Villarreal
64' The cross had to be perfect and it was from the influential Fornals, his right-footed delivery from the left flank curling perfectly onto Moreno's head.
Gerard Moreno
Goal
Villarreal
64' GOALLL!!! Villarreal restore their lead and it's 2-1! That could be a huge goal in the context of this tie. It looked a fairly innocuous situation for Zenit, but Rakitskiy was on his heels and Moreno nipped in front to direct a glancing header into the bottom corner from Fornals' cross.
62' Morlanes has been a standout in controlling the midfield for Villarreal. He's gained possession a game-high nine times and tops his team's count for passes in the opposition half.
59' While not entirely secure at the back, the away side can be satisfied with how this half is unfolding. They look comfortable in possession and haven't had too much to worry about defensively.
57' Brilliant interception by Ruiz! The defender slides in and prevents Mak's low cross from making its way into the middle of the area.
55' Chukwueze's left-footed shot is straight at Lunev. Villarreal's teenage Nigeria international has been a handful throughout these 55 minutes.
53' Zenit's six goals in the group stage ranked as the lowest number recorded by any of the 12 section winners. The only team to qualify with fewer goals were their Group C rivals Slavia Prague, who scored four.
50' The Yellow Submarine's turn to threaten this time as Miguelon hits a low ball towards Moreno at the near post. The striker is unable to make much of a connection and Lunev does well to shovel it away from harm.
48' Almost a chance for Zenit. Azmoun escapes Ruiz's attention and slides a ball across goal, but it's just beyond Dzyuba's reach.
48' Along with Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt, Villarreal are one of three teams yet to lose in this season's Europa League. As it stands they are on course to maintain that status.
46' Back underway in Saint Petersburg with Zenit and Villarreal level at 1-1.
Though his team coughed up a quickfire equaliser, Calleja will surely be the happier of the two coaches. Villarreal head into the next 45 minutes with an away goal already in the bank and may look to limit risks, knowing this scoreline works in their favour for the second leg.
All square at half-time in Russia and Iran international Azmoun will be a relieved man. He fluffed a one-on-one moments before Iborra broke the deadlock. Redemption came less than two minutes later, though, as the 24-year-old bundled home at the other end to restore parity for Zenit.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: ZENIT 1-1 VILLARREAL
45' A couple meaty challenges are exchanged in midfield before Ozdoev gives away a free-kick for tripping Fornals.
43' Moreno unfurls a tame effort from distance and Lunev comfortably holds.
40' A breathless few minutes in Saint Petersburg. Villarreal's away goal could prove precious, but their lead was quickly snatched away and it's all square at 1-1 approaching half-time.
W. Barrios
Yellow Card
Zenit
37' Barrios went in hard on Zenit's scorer Azmoun in the moments after play restarted and is shown a yellow. The striker is back on the pitch, having required some treatment.
R. Mak
Assist
Zenit
35' Mak's assist for Azmoun was hardly by design. The winger was trying to force the ball into the net and his team-mate - who was initially busy claiming that Dzyuba's header had crossed the line - was the lucky recipient of what turned out to be a pass.
S. Azmoun
Goal
Zenit
35' GOALLL!!! Zenit respond in quick time! That's bitterly disappointing for Villarreal, who were caught short on numbers at the back. Fernandez clawed Dzyuba's header off the line, but Mak's mishit follow-up fell kindly for Azmoun to tap home. It's 1-1 all of a sudden!
Álvaro González
Assist
Villarreal
33' It was clever from Gonzalez to head the ball back into an area where Iborra was able to apply the finish.
Vicente Iborra
Goal
Villarreal
33' GOALLL!!! Zenit will regret Azmoun's miss now! A Villarreal corner is taken short to Chukwueze, whose cross into the box is met with a header back across goal by Gonzalez, and Iborra is on hand to nod home. The visitors lead 1-0!
31' Dzyuba was the man to provide strike partner Azmoun with that scoring opportunity. It's the best either side have had thus far.
29' WASTED!!! A huge chance for Zenit goes begging. Villarreal committed men forward and were caught on the counter, with Azmoun played clean through from on halfway. He looks to round Fernandez but goes too wide, and ultimately hits the side-netting with a panicked finish.
27' Mak hits a high, swirling free-kick into the box that Fernandez comes to punch. Villarreal eventually clear and get the ball upfield.
26' Zenit gloveman Lunev should probably have held that shot the first time around. No danger on the follow-up, though, and it remains goalless.
25' SAVED! Chukwueze tees up Fornals, who has been busy, for a shooting opportunity on the edge of the area. The midfielder pulls the trigger and makes a good connection, but it's close enough to Lunev for the goalkeeper to hold at the second attempt.
23' Fornals gets on the ball again and bends a cross into the box, but Ivanovic reads it perfectly and snuffs out the danger.
22' Fornals tries his luck with an audacious shot that drifts harmlessly wide of Lunev's left post.
19' Iborra rises to head clear a Zenit corner. Villarreal have coped well in the air since Rakitskiy nodded over inside the opening five minutes.
18' Fornals overhits a pass and Costa is unable to reel it in on the left. Still, this is a confident start from the visitors.
17' Zenit are unbeaten in 26 home games in the main stages of this competition, last losing to Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 in 2007-08.
Jaume Costa
Yellow Card
Villarreal
14' In his attempt to make up for giving the ball away, Costa fouled Smolnikov and becomes the first player to enter the book.
14' Villarreal are working the ball around in relaxed fashion, although Costa ruins a promising move with a poor pass and subsequent foul.
12' Ozdoev's delivery following a short corner fails to clear the first man. Zenit will want to be better from set-pieces considering the height they boast across the park.
9' CLOSE! Villarreal work it forward to Chukwueze who squares to the top of the box, where Morlanes fires narrowly wide of the right post.
7' Villarreal are heavily changed from the weekend but their back three of Gonzalez, Funes Mori and Ruiz remains intact, which should provide a measure of stability.
5' Rakitskiy gets away the first attempt of the game, nodding over the bar from Mak's corner. Not an easy header.
5' Costa delivers a high ball into the box but it comes to nothing as Moreno is too easily buffeted off the ball.
3' Villarreal's appeals for a foul on Chukwueze go unheeded and Zenit are back on the front foot.
1' We're underway between Zenit and Villarreal in Saint Petersburg!
The players are out on the pitch and we're just moments away from kick-off!
The only other time these teams have crossed paths in Europe was in the last 32 of what was then the UEFA Cup in 2007-08. The Russian outfit advanced on away goals after both sides won their respective home legs. That could be a good omen for Zenit: they went on to win the competition, beating Rangers in the final in Manchester.
Javier Calleja shuffles the pack for Villarreal, perhaps in view of Sunday's important league trip to Levante. There are seven changes in total to the team that lost 2-1 to Alaves, with striker Bacca and creative midfielder Cazorla among those dropping to the bench. Only one member of the Zenit side that edged Ural makes way here, with midfielder Kuzyaev replacing the experienced Yuri Zhirkov.
VILLARREAL SUBS: Sergio Asenjo, Mario Gaspar, Xavier Quintilla, Karl Toko Ekambi, Carlos Bacca, Santi Cazorla, Santiago Caseres.
VILLARREAL XI (3-5-2): Andres Fernandez; Alvaro Gonzalez, Ramiro Funes Mori, Victor Ruiz; Miguelon, Vicente Iborra, Pablo Fornals, Manuel Morlanes, Jaume Costa; Samuel Chukwueze, Gerard Moreno.
ZENIT SUBS: Luis Neto, Anton Zabolotny, Matias Kranevitter, Mikhail Kerzhakov, Hernani, Oleg Shatov, Emanuel Mammana.
ZENIT XI (4-4-2): Andrey Lunev; Igor Smolnikov, Branislav Ivanovic, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Magomed Ozdoev; Robert Mak, Daler Kuzyaev, Wilmar Barrios, Sebastian Driussi; Sardar Azmoun, Artem Dzyuba.
Though equally accomplished in Europe thus far, Zenit and Villarreal square up amid wildly contrasting domestic campaigns. Sergei Semak's men sit three points clear atop the Russian Premier League, having accrued 12 victories from 18 matches. The Spanish side, meanwhile, are fighting for survival in LaLiga, with recent losses to Atletico Madrid and Alaves leaving them two points from safety after 26 games.
The pointy end of the tournament is drawing closer and, having topped their respective groups, both clubs will fancy their chances of advancing through to the quarter-finals. Zenit, who host this match, impressively overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit to beat Fenerbahce 3-2 on aggregate in the round of 32. Villarreal ousted Sporting CP, winning 1-0 on the road and drawing 1-1 at home for a 2-1 aggregate triumph.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of this first-leg encounter between Zenit and Villarreal in the Europa League last 16!
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