UEFA Champions League

February 15, 2012

Full-time

Zenit St Petersburg

3 - 2

Benfica

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?