UEFA Champions League

February 15, 2012


Zenit St Petersburg

3 - 2


UEFA Champions League

17:00 +00:00, February 15, 2012

Petrovski Stadium

Referee: Jonas Eriksson

  • 90'

    FULL TIME Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 Benfica

  • 90'

    Zenit scrambling the ball clear as Benfica look for an equaliser. Zhevnov looking ropey in the Zenit goal.

  • 90'

    Rosina replaces Faizulin for Zenit

  • 90'

    Nolito takes a shot cutting in from the right, deflects off Anyukov and almost lobs the hapless Zhevnov.

  • 90'

    Miguel Vitor comes on for Benfica in place of Gaitan.

  • 88'

    GOAL Zenit 3-2 Benfica Shirokov bags a second!!! Terrible defending in the box from Maxi Pereira and the ball falls to Shirokov who fires home.

  • 87'

    Benfica loo GOAL Zenit 2-2 Benfica Cardozo scores after goalkeeping blunder!!! What has he done there? Gaitan's tame shot is palmed straight to Cardozo.

  • 85'

    Lombaerts stops the latest Benfica attack before it has begun. Great play by the Belgian.

  • 84'

    Benfica pressing for an equaliser, but to little effect. All fairly easy for Zenit to defend right now. Maxi Pereira injured now.

  • 82'

    Cleared by Anyukov this time. Faizulin allows the ball to run out for a goal-kick.

  • 81'

    Witsel wins a corner for Benfica. Can they grab an equaliser?

  • 79'

    Again, Kerzhakov has another chance. Weak header straight at Artur however. Should have done better with the first of his chances though.

  • 78'

    Kerzhakov has anotger chance as a corner reaches the back post. Hits the side-netting though.

  • 77'

    Delay once more with Shirokov down. Once more, he will be ok.

  • 76'

    Nolito on for Bruno Cesar

  • 76'

    Free-kick to Benfica as Garay gets a kick to the head in the box. All accidental.

  • 76'

    Bruno Alves takes the free-kick this time, but it clips the wall and flies for a corner to Zenit.

  • 74'

    Aimar Kerzhakov fires the ball straight into the wall. The striker then challenges Aimar for the ball in the air and the referee gives another free-kick.

  • 73'

    Free-kick to Zenit 30 yards out as Garay fouls Bystrov. Can they do better than Benfica have done?

  • 72'

    Zenit have the lead they need to take to Portugal, but they could do with another to make it interesting.

  • 71'

    GOAL Zenit 2-1 Benfica Semak gives Zenit the lead!!! Great play from Kerzhakov, played across goal first-time by Bystrov and Semak produces a fine flicked backheel into the corner.

  • 69'

    Emerson plays a ball low across the six yard box. It hits Cardozo and rolls towards the far post. Zhevnov makes a meal of the save though.

  • 68'

    Witsel down now with a bang to the back of the head. Will be ok though.

  • 68'

    Bystrov almost makes an immediate impact as he is given plenty of space on the right-wing but fires over. Benfica appeal desperately for offside.

  • 66'

    Vladimir Bystrov replaces Maksim Kanunnikov for Zenit

  • 65'

    Kerzhakov tries to curl one in from the left, but it is well wide. Poor from the experienced striker.

  • 64'

    Poor free-kick easily headed clear once more. Gaitan tries to continue the attack, but dispossessed too easily by Hubocan.

  • 63'

    Anyukov brings down Bruno Cesar to give Benfica another set-piece opportunity. Can they take advantage this time?

  • 62'

    Been a commanding performance from Bruno Alves as he clears yet another ball for Zenit.

  • 61'

    Bruno Cesar takes for the Portuguese side, but headed clear at the edge of the area.

  • 60'

    Benfica have a dangerous free-kick 30 yards out. Time to send the big boys up.

  • 60'

    Been a while since we had a clear-cut chance here. Neither team willing to gamble too much yet.

  • 59'

    Some discussions between a UEFA official and Spalletti on the Zenit bench. Looks heated, but no indication of the reason for the chat.

  • 58'

    Benfica celebrate after opening the scoring through Maxi Pereira

  • 57'

    Denisov looks for Kerzhakov in the area. But, the striker can't keep the ball in play and it runs for a goal-kick.

  • 56'

    Maxi Pereira does well down the right-flank, attacking Maksim Kanunnikov. Appears to be brought down, but nothing given.

  • 55'

    Shirokov tries a chipped through ball to the striker, but Artur comes out well to gather.

  • 54'

    Zenit crowding the Benfica defence and making life tough for full-back Emerson in particular. Good tactic from the Russians.

  • 53'

    Absolute waste. Shirokov has time and space on the right as Zenit counter, but the ball bobbles up and he mishits his pass straight to Artur.

  • 51'

    Free-kick given in the box to Zenit for some shirt-pulling. Matters little as Garay fires high and wide anyway.

  • 51'

    Mai Pereira wins a free-kick in the Zenit left-back position. Dangerous area for Aimar to take from.

  • 50'

    Aimar hits a terrible free-kick towards the area. Zenit counter with Denisov, but Luisao does well to clear the danger with Kerzhakov lurking.

  • 49'

    Great midfield play by Axel Witsel to nip-in and dispossess Shirokov as Zenit looked to counter.

  • 48'

    Jorge Jesus is agitated on the touchline. He is not happy with his Benfica side at the moment.

  • 47'

    Hubocan gets down the left in fine fashion, but his cross is dismal and goes for a goal-kick.

  • 46'

    Benfica took as long as they could to come out for the second-half. Not a surprise given the temperature.

  • 46'

    SECOND HALF underway now as Zenit kick us off.

  • 46'

    Sergei Semak comes on to replace Konstantin Zyryanov for Zenit

  • 45'

    At half-time, temperatures have dropped down to -15 degrees. Tough times for all concerned.

  • 45'

    HALF TIME Zenit St Petersburg 1-1 Benfica

  • 45'

    Bruno Cesar booked for a cynical trip to cancel out a Zenit counter-attack.

  • 45'

    Zenit dealing well with Gaitan down the Benfica right, denying the Argentine a dangerous situation.

  • 45'

    At the other end, Witsel drags a 20 yard effort wide with his right-foot.

  • 45'

    Close for Zenit once more as Zyryanov plays the ball right across the face of goal when it looked easier to shoot.

  • 43'

    Bit scrappy in midfield now. Neither side keeping ball for long.

  • 42'

    Emerson gives away a dangerous position in the Benfica left-back position. Headed clear by Cardozo.

  • 41'

    Aimar gets a shot in on goal now, from outside the box. Saved by Zhevnov. Zenit need to get closer than that.

  • 40'

    Another Zenit offside, this time Faizulin. All too regular so far.

  • 39'

    Kerzhakov and Luisao go up to challenge for a header, but both players miss the ball and Maxi turns it back to goalkeeper Artur.

  • 38'

    Bruno Alves has been commanding for Zenit so far, enjoying playing against his countrymen it seems.

  • 37'

    Cardozo hits a left-footed shot at goal, but easily saved by Zhevnov. Good play from Aimar in the build-up.

  • 36'

    Benfica have a 4-on-3 in attack, but Gaitan plays the ball behind Aimar and the chance is wasted.

  • 36'

    Faizulin tries to claim a penalty, but waved away by the referee.

  • 34'

    Nemanja Matic fires well over the bar after a lay-off from Aimar. Never anywhere close to threatening.

  • 33'

    Delay in proceedings as Anyukov receives treatment. Cameras focussing on Luciano Spalletti in the Zenit dugout.

  • 32'

    Gaitan crosses the ball in from the right, Zhevnov rishes out and drops the ball, taking out his captain Anyukov in the process. Danger averted though.

  • 31'

    Zenit pinning Benfica back for a little while here. The Portuguese have lost momentum since scoring.

  • 30'

    Some tidy football from Zenit, particularly in wide-areas. Easy to see why they have done well this year.

  • 30'

    Pablo Aimar replaces Rodrigo. The striker never recovered from that knock.

  • 28'

    The home-side are level, but Benfica have the away goal. Zenit will be hopeful of a win to take to Portugal. Can they do it?

  • 27'

    GOAL Zenit 1-1 Benfica Shirokov with a fine finish!!! Hubocan plays in a lovely left-foot cross which Shirokov turns in beatifully with a side-footed finish.

  • 26'

    Kerzhakov bursts down the right, finding Shirokov in the centre. But, the midfielder can only fire over from the edge of the area.

  • 25'

    Benfica reestablishing themselves now and calming the game down a bit.

  • 24'

    No substitution. So Rodrigo has recovered from his knock and will continue for now.

  • 23'

    All Zenit now. They have been stung into action by that goal. What a game we could have on our hands.

  • 22'

    Danger! Kerzhakov has a great chance as the ball falls to him in the area after the corner. Well saved by Artur with his legs.

  • 21'

    Zenit look for an immediate response, but Nico Gaitan is back in defence to head for a corner.

  • 20'

    GOAL Zenit 0-1 Benfica Maxi Pereira turns in the rebound!!! Cardozo's left-footed free-kick is saved by Zhevnov, but he pushes the ball straight to Maxi Pereira to turn the ball in.

  • 19'

    Dangerous free-kick 20 yards out for Benfica now as Witsel goes down under Lombaerts tackle. What can the Portuguese side manage?

  • 18'

    The stretcher is out and it seems Rodrigo may be heading off. Took a nastly landing on his hip on the solid ground. Bad tackle though.

  • 17'

    Yellow Card Ouch! Bruno Alves comes right through Rodrigo from behind and the striker is in some distress here.

  • 16'

    Nicolas Lombaerts sweeps well for Zenit, just as the ball seemed to be running for Rodrigo.

  • 15'

    Emerson and Gaitan link-up down the Benfica left and win a throw-in. Thrown to Rodrigo, but the ball goes for a goal-kick.

  • 13'

    Yellow Card for Luisao for a lunge on Faizulin in midfield

  • 12'

    Now it is Shirokov who gets forward well for Zenit from a good advantage. Plays the ball to Kerzhakov who is offside.

  • 11'

    Zenit playing the ball around in defence, before going long. Well dealt with by Emerson.

  • 10'

    Lovely stuff from Gaitan on the right-flank, but his through-ball to Rodrigo is just cut out by Bruno Alves.

  • 9'

    Rodrigo attempts to burst through the middle of the defence, but Bruno Alves sweeps across to cover.

  • 7'

    Fairly even contest so far, with both sides enjoying time on the ball. Benfica will hope to get the ball to prolific strikers Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo.

  • 6'

    Luisao in defence for Benfica earned aa recall to the Brazil squad yesterday. One of four Brazilians in the Benfica side.

  • 5'

    Konstantin Zyryanov gets the ball on the left and plays a dangerous low ball across the goal. Claimed by Artur for the Portuguese side.

  • 4'

    The little Argentine has now given away a free-kick, tackling Faizulin but getting nowhere near the ball.

  • 3'

    First chance for Nico Gaitan to shine and he wins a corner. Comes to nothing however.

  • 3'

    Bruno Cesar flights a free-kick into the box, headed clear by Bruno Alves for Zenit.

  • 2'

    High-pressing from Zenit at the start, winning a throw in in Benfica territory after hassling Maxi Pereira.

  • 1'

    KICK OFF in St Petersburg


    Both teams are at the top of their domestic leagues and both have been free-scoring. What are the odds on 0-0? Remember though, the Russian league is still on a winter break.


    No Malafeev in goal for Zenit, with Yuri Zhevnov stepping-in. Bigger blow than Danny's absence? Both are huge players for the Russians.


    Manchester United-linked Nicolas Gaitan starts for Benfica. How will the Argentine and his colleagues cope with the -10 degree temperatures.


    Interesting to note that Zenit have more Portuguese players in their starting XI today (Bruno Alves) than Benfica (0)


    No Danny in the Zenit side tonight, or the rest of the season for that matter, as the Portuguese has a cruciate ligament injury. Will his absence harm Zenit's chances tonight?


    Benfica team: Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Emerson, Matic, Witsel, Gaitan, Cardozo, Bruno Cesar, Rodrigo Moreno.


    Zenit St Petersburg team: Zhevnov, Aniukov, Bruno Alves, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Denisov, Zyryanov, Shirokov, Kanunnikov, Kerzhakov, Faitzulin.


    Tonight's early match sees Zenit St Petersburg take on Benfica at the Petrovski Stadium. Can the home side take an advantage to the Estadio da Luz in two weeks time?