Fatih Tekke's goal ten minutes from time denied FC BATE Borisov a maiden victory in the UEFA Champions League group stage and earned FC Zenit St. Petersburg their first point in Group H.
BATE had previously lost all six matches against Russian opposition in UEFA club competition but that statistic looked like changing thanks to half-time substitute Pavel Nekhaychik's cool finish after 52 minutes. Zenit had earlier struck the woodwork twice and passed up a host of other opportunities, but they finally drew level when Tekke evaded the BATE offside trap to fire past Sergei Veremko, though Zenit remain bottom of the section.
With three points a priority following two Group H defeats, Zenit started in determined mood. Danny was finding himself in plenty of space and it was the Portuguese international who started the move from which the home side almost forged ahead after eleven minutes. He picked up the ball deep in BATE territory and when the ball was worked wide to Andrei Arshavin, the playmaker's cross to the far post was met by the head of Konstantin Zyryanov but somehow Veremko got down to push the ball away.
Moments later, BATE escaped again. Once again Arshavin was afforded time and space, and from another deep floated delivery, Tekke headed against the outside of the post. BATE were coming under sustained pressure, though it was the Belarussian visitors who nearly took the lead on 20 minutes when Ivica Križanac lost possession to Vitali Rodionov, who advanced into the area before firing a right-footed shot against the inside of the post.
Gradually BATE settled and Zenit had Roman Shirokov to thank for keeping the scores level when he blocked Anri Khagush's goal-bound effort following neat interplay between Sergei Kryvets and Rodionov. However, the visitors’ goal was leading a charmed life, and Zenit struck the woodwork for a second time when Danny fired a shot off the underside of the crossbar after BATE had conceded possession on the edge of their area.
As in the first half, Arshavin was proving a menace to the BATE rearguard and would have broken the deadlock had Tekke not blocked a shot that looked to be heading for the bottom corner after a mesmerising run. Aleksandr Yurevich then nodded Igor Denisov's glancing header off the line before BATE silenced the buoyant home support by taking the lead. Nekhaychik, who had only been on the field seven minutes, latched on to Gennadi Bliznyuk’s through pass, evaded the challenge of Aleksandr Anyukov and stabbed past Vyacheslav Malafeev.
BATE still looked vulnerable whenever Zenit put the ball into their area and Tekke was a whisker away from connecting with Arshavin's cross after Khagush's mistake. From the resulting corner, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk missed his kick when unmarked from close range, while Arshavin tested Veremko with a header moments later. Zenit were laying siege to the visitors' goal and Pavel Pogrebnyak forced Veremko into a sprawling save with a close-range header seconds after replacing Zyryanov, they finally levelled as Tekke latched on to Shirokov's long ball to volley past the on-rushing Veremko.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.