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Shakhtar and Zenit produce four-goal draw

Published: Wednesday 19 October 2011, 22.52CET
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 FC Zenit St Petersburg
Shakhtar led twice against the Russian league leaders but were unable to record their first Group G win in a rip-roaring game.
by Richard van Poortvliet
from Donbass Arena

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Published: Wednesday 19 October 2011, 22.52CET

Shakhtar and Zenit produce four-goal draw

FC Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 FC Zenit St Petersburg
Shakhtar led twice against the Russian league leaders but were unable to record their first Group G win in a rip-roaring game.

FC Shakhtar Donetsk are still looking for their first victory in UEFA Champions League Group G after they were held to a 2-2 draw by FC Zenit St Petersburg.

Both sides had numerous chances in what was a hugely entertaining game at a packed Donbass Arena, but it is the visitors who will perhaps be happier with a draw which keeps them in second spot, a point behind APOEL FC. Zenit twice came from behind, with excellent goals from Roman Shirokov and Viktor Fayzulin cancelling out strikes by Willian and Luiz Adriano.

The game started at express pace as both teams created a flurry of early openings, Douglas Costa setting the tone with a free-kick that sailed narrowly past Vyacheslav Malafeev's right-hand post. Shirokov had gone close for the visitors on a couple of occasions but on ten minutes the Russian international was given the perfect opportunity to put Zenit in front from the penalty spot. However, the midfielder's weak shot was well saved low down to his right by Olexandr Rybka, much to the delight of the sell-out crowd.

Zenit were made to pay after quarter of an hour. Willian picked the ball up wide on the left and with the Zenit defence standing off, the 23-year-old hit a superb right-footed shot which sailed into the top right-hand corner via an outstretched glove of Malafeev.

Luciano Spalletti's men continued to press in search of an equaliser and they were rewarded on 33 minutes. Aleksandr Bukharov's excellent pass with the outside of his right foot found Shirokov and the Zenit midfielder made amends for his penalty failure, chesting the ball past Rybka and scoring from an acute angle. The teams looked like they would be heading into the break level, but in added time Luiz Adriano restored Shakhtar's lead with a shot on the turn.

The second half continued at a similar tempo, with Jadson having a couple of chances to extend Shakhtar's lead. However, he failed to take them and Zenit drew level on the hour. Fayzulin took advantage of Olexandr Chyzhov's untimely slip and with the goalkeeper well off his line, the midfielder restored parity with a superb chip.

Shirokov had a late chance to win the game for the Russian league leaders, but he was to be denied by a brilliant last-ditch block by Olexandr Kucher as both teams had to settle for a point, leaving Shakhtar still two adrift of second-placed Zenit. They meet again in Russia on 1 November.

Last updated: 27/11/12 20.12CET

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