Europa League news

Zenit star misses tie after wife's death

March 17, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Zenit St Petersburg goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev has withdrawn from his side's Europa League tie against FC Twente on Thursday after his wife was killed in a car crash.

Vyacheslav Malafeev was Zenit's 'keeper when they won the UEFA Cup in 2008
GettyImagesVyacheslav Malafeev was Zenit's 'keeper when they won the UEFA Cup in 2008

Marina Malafeev died when her car hit a snow bank on St Petersburg's Primorskoye road and hit a tree in the early hours of Thursday.

She was returning from performing at a gig with Russian group M-16 and singer Dmitry Rybakov is in intensive care as a result of the crash.

Zenit have said that Malafeev, 32, has returned immediately to St Petersburg and will be replaced for Thursday's game by Yury Zhevnov.

A statement on Zenit's official website read: "Marina Malafeev, our goalkeeper's wife, died early this morning in a car crash. Out deepest condolences to Vyacheslav Malafeev and his family."

Zenit's players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect. The Russian club are 3-0 down from the first leg in the Netherlands.