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Zenit's Shirokov scores twice to down Benfica

Published: Wednesday 15 February 2012, 20.31CET
FC Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 SL Benfica
Roman Shirokov scored twice to give the Russian side the edge, although away goals from Maxi Pereira and Óscar Cardozo kept the visitors in contention.
by Richard van Poortvliet
from Stadion Petrovskiy

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Match statistics

ZenitBenfica

Goals scored3
 
2
Attempts on target5
 
8
Attempts off target5
 
4
Corners5
 
2
Offsides6
 
3
Fouls committed14
 
13
Yellow cards2
 
3
Red cards0
 
0
Possession (%)53
 
47

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 15 February 2012, 20.31CET

Zenit's Shirokov scores twice to down Benfica

FC Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 SL Benfica
Roman Shirokov scored twice to give the Russian side the edge, although away goals from Maxi Pereira and Óscar Cardozo kept the visitors in contention.

Two goals from Roman Shirokov, the second two minutes from time, helped FC Zenit St Petersburg to a narrow victory against SL Benfica although the Portuguese side remain in contention for a UEFA Champions League quarter-final place thanks to two away goals.

It was Benfica who struck the first blow of an entertaining contest, an opportunist Maxi Pereira strike putting them in front with 20 minutes gone. Shirokov's fine volley swiftly levelled matters and substitute Sergei Semak rounded off a fine move midway through the second half to turn the contest in Zenit's favour. Óscar Cardozo looked to have given Benfica a valuable draw late on, but within 60 seconds Shirokov had capitalised on defensive uncertainty to set up a pulsating second leg on 6 March.

In freezing temperatures the match took time to warm up, but it was the visitors who found their feet first. Cardozo's 25-metre free-kick bounced awkwardly in front of Yuri Zhevnov and the Zenit goalkeeper could only palm the shot straight back out; Pereira reacted quickest to turn in the loose ball.

That forced the Russian champions and league leaders into action and they poured forward in search of an equaliser. Their reward was rapid as Tomáš Hubočan expertly picked out Shirokov on the penalty spot. The 30-year-old let the ball come across his body before directing an excellent right-foot volley into the bottom corner, leaving Artur with no chance as he recorded his fourth goal in this season's competition.

Luciano Spalletti's charges had opportunities to add to their tally with Benfica now on the back foot and they went close to snatching the lead in first-half stoppage time. Konstantin Zryanov threaded a teasing centre across the goalmouth but no one in a blue shirt was able to apply the finishing touch.

The second half was a more even affair with neither side at their fluent best and clear chances few and far between. When one was created, 19 minutes from time, it was accepted greedily as Zenit moved in front with a superb team goal. Aleksandr Kerzhakov did excellently to keep the ball in play with a deft back-heel, which found the unmarked Vladimir Bystov in the penalty area. The substitute picked out Semak, himself a half-time replacement, and with an astute back-heel of his own the midfielder sent the ball into the far corner.

Now it was Benfica's turn to muster a response and they duly found one with three minutes left. Nicolás Gaitán found himself with time and space on the penalty spot and, though Zhevnov blocked his shot, again the goalkeeper failed to hold on and this time Cardozo was the grateful recipient.

Visiting celebrations were fleeting, however, as Pereira unwisely attempted to control Aleksandr Anyukov's low right-wing cross. His heavy touch allowed Shirokov to steal in and, despite Artur's best efforts, the midfielder squeezed his shot into the net to give Zenit a slender but vital advantage to take to Portugal.

Last updated: 27/11/12 12.06CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000264/match=2007667/postmatch/report/index.html#shirokov+secures+narrow+lead

Quotes

  • Luciano Spalletti

    Read more"We underestimate our level of performance sometimes and that helps our opponents"

  • Jorge Jesus

    Read more"The tie is open and at our stadium, with our supporters, we can go through"

Lineups

zenit

Zenit

benfica

Benfica

30
ZhevnovYuri Zhevnov (GK)
1
ArturArtur (GK)
2
AnyukovAleksandr Anyukov (C)
Yellow Card63
3
EmersonEmerson
3
Bruno AlvesBruno Alves
Yellow Card17
4
LuisãoLuisão (C)
Yellow Card13
6
LombaertsNicolas Lombaerts
7
Óscar CardozoÓscar Cardozo
Goal87
11
KerzhakovAleksandr Kerzhakov
8
Bruno CésarBruno César
Yellow Card45+1
Substitution76
14
HubočanTomáš Hubočan
14
Maxi PereiraMaxi Pereira
Goal20
15
ShirokovRoman Shirokov
Goal27
Goal88
19
RodrigoRodrigo
Substitution30
18
ZyryanovKonstantin Zyryanov
Substitution46
20
GaitánNicolás Gaitán
Substitution90
20
FayzulinViktor Fayzulin
Substitution89
21
MatićNemanja Matić
27
DenisovIgor Denisov
24
GarayEzequiel Garay
99
KanunnikovMaksim Kanunnikov
Substitution66
28
WitselAxel Witsel

Substitutes

22
BorodinDmitri Borodin (GK)
47
EduardoEduardo (GK)
17
RosinaAlessandro Rosina
Substitution89
9
NolitoNolito
Substitution76
23
HusztiSzabolcs Huszti
10
AimarPablo Aimar
Substitution30
Yellow Card75
24
LukovićAleksandar Luković
16
Nélson OliveiraNélson Oliveira
25
SemakSergei Semak
Substitution46
Goal71
27
Miguel VítorMiguel Vítor
Substitution90
34
BystrovVladimir Bystrov
Substitution66
30
SaviolaJavier Saviola
50
CheminavaIgor Cheminava
33
JardelJardel

Coach

Luciano Spalletti (ITA) Jorge Jesus (POR)

Referee

Jonas Eriksson (SWE)

Assistant referees

Stefan Wittberg (SWE), Fredrik Nilsson (SWE)

Fourth official

Daniel Stålhammar (SWE)

Additional assistant referees

Markus Strömbergsson (SWE), Stefan Johannesson (SWE)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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