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Milan face testing trip to Spalletti's Zenit

Published: Wednesday 26 September 2012, 11.34CET
FC Zenit St Petersburg's home record is just one thing that visitors AC Milan have to fear on matchday two when they face a rival who knows them all too well in Luciano Spalletti.
Milan face testing trip to Spalletti's Zenit
Luciano Spalletti has done well at home to Milan in the past ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 26 September 2012, 11.34CET

Milan face testing trip to Spalletti's Zenit

FC Zenit St Petersburg's home record is just one thing that visitors AC Milan have to fear on matchday two when they face a rival who knows them all too well in Luciano Spalletti.

AC Milan face a familiar foe in Luciano Spalletti when they visit FC Zenit St Petersburg for their second fixture in UEFA Champions League Group C.

• Spalletti had an excellent record against Milan as coach of AS Roma, and Zenit's impressive recent European history at the Stadion Petrovski suggests a challenging evening is in store for the seven-time winners, who opened their campaign with a goalless draw against RSC Anderlecht as Zenit were succumbing 3-0 at Málaga CF.

Match background
• Zenit are bidding to extend a 16-match unbeaten home sequence in UEFA competition stretching back to a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid CF in their first UEFA Champions League home fixture on 30 September 2008.

• The Russian title holders' run includes three wins and a draw in last season's UEFA Champions League. They have won ten and drawn one of 11 European home fixtures under Spalletti.

• Milan did not win on their travels in the 2011/12 competition, recording three draws and two defeats. Their last away victory in the UEFA Champions League was a 2-0 success at AJ Auxerre in November 2010.

• Milan's sole previous UEFA Champions League engagement in Russia was a 1-0 victory at FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the 2002/03 second group stage through a Rivaldo penalty. They won the trophy that year, just as they did after their only other victory in Russia – a Romeo Benetti-inspired 1-0 success at FC Spartak Moskva in the 1972/73 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.

• Zenit's last encounter with Italian opponents came in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16 against Udinese Calcio. Dick Advocaat's team lost 2-0 in Italy, winning the return 1-0 through Anatoliy Tymoshchuk's goal. Vyacheslav Malafeev, Aleksandr Anyukov, Danny, Igor Denisov, Viktor Fayzulin, Roman Shirokov and Konstantin Zyryanov all featured.

• Zenit's two other home ties with Serie A opposition were a goalless draw with Juventus in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage and a 3-0 defeat by Bologna FC in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup first round.

Team ties
• Spalletti and his Milan counterpart Massimiliano Allegri both played, at different times, for amateur side UC Cuoiopelli. Both from Tuscany, they were born 80km apart, in Certaldo and Livorno respectively.

• As coaches in Serie A, the pair crossed swords only in 2008/09. Spalletti's Roma beat Allegri's Cagliari Calcio 3-2 with a last-minute goal at the Stadio Olimpico and then came from two down to earn a 2-2 away draw.

• With Roma between 2005 and 2009, Spalletti posted two wins and two draws in home Serie A meetings with Milan. His overall record was W5 D2 L1. Philippe Mexès was with him throughout his four years in Rome.

• With Udinese – where he was coach in 2001 and again from 2002 to 2005 – Spalletti was also unbeaten at home against Milan, recording one win and two draws. His overall Serie A record against the Rossoneri with Udinese was: W2 D2 L3.

• Spalletti also coached Empoli FC, UC Sampdoria, AC Venezia and AC Ancona in Italy.

• Domenico Criscito played for Genoa CFC and Juventus and was a team-mate of Marco Amelia and Stephan El Shaarawy at Genoa in 2009/10.

• Criscito has played for Italy alongside Ignazio Abate, Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Nocerino and Giampaolo Pazzini.

• Shirokov (2) and Kerzhakov scored as Russia overcame Montolivo and Nocerino's Italy 3-0 in a pre-UEFA EURO 2012 friendly in Zurich on 1 June. Denisov, Malafeev and Zyryanov also played for Russia.

• Kerzhakov was a substitute in the Sevilla FC side beaten 3-1 by Milan in the 2007 UEFA Super Cup.

• Aleksandar Luković spent four seasons with Udinese, including a loan spell at Ascoli Calcio. He played alongside Cristián Zapata in Udinese's 1-0 second-leg loss to Zenit in the UEFA Cup round of 16 on 19 March 2009; the Italian side nevertheless won 2-1 on aggregate.

• Sergei Semak and Mario Yepes were team-mates at Paris Saint-Germain FC from 2005 to 2006.

• Semak played in Russia's 1-0 reverse at Italy in a 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off. With PFC CSKA Moskva he lost 3-2 at Parma FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round despite scoring twice and was in the FC Rubin Kazan team beaten 2-0 by Inter in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Last updated: 29/09/12 19.26CET

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