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Zenit steeled for Atlético encounter

Published: Monday 25 November 2013, 16.33CET
FC Zenit aim to put their first home defeat of the season behind them as they host Club Atlético de Madrid knowing a win could ensure they join the visitors in the last 16.
by Artem Nefedyev
from St Petersburg
Zenit steeled for Atlético encounter
Luciano Spalletti's Zenit could go through on Tuesday ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored9
Possession (%)55
Total attempts101
on target58
off target43
against woodwork3
Yellow cards16
Red Cards1
Fouls committed109
Fouls suffered138

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)
Published: Monday 25 November 2013, 16.33CET

Zenit steeled for Atlético encounter

FC Zenit aim to put their first home defeat of the season behind them as they host Club Atlético de Madrid knowing a win could ensure they join the visitors in the last 16.

FC Zenit wish to put their first home defeat of the season behind them as they welcome Club Atlético de Madrid knowing a win could ensure they join their visitors in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Without key men and fresh from Friday's loss to FC Rostov, Luciano Spalletti spoke of how he has tried to rally his squad for a potentially decisive Group G match. Atlético, with a perfect record, are set to rest players after hitting seven on Saturday but Diego Simeone wants them to display "the hunger to win and the desire to play classy football".

• Zenit, in second, are one point above FC Porto with a better head-to-head record so will qualify if they win and the Portuguese side fail to beat FK Austria Wien. Atlético have already secured first place.

Luciano Spalletti, coach
After the match against Rostov I talked to the team, we discussed our recent results and the situation we are in. Tomorrow we will play four defenders because we do not have enough players to play five at the back. Everyone should be keen to play for Zenit and ready to compete.

I would prefer if it Atlético played their full-strength side because the absence of several players from the opposition might affect us. I see a danger in the fact my players might think it's a weakened Atlético team – but this is not the case. However, we have some absences too, and will be without four or five regulars such as Danny. I love my players. I train the players with great pleasure. If I am not happy with somebody in the team or they interfere with my work, then I leave them out.

Weekend result
Friday: Zenit 0-2 Rostov (Dyakov 18, Kalachev 39)
Lodygin; Smolnikov, Criscito, Luís Neto, Hubočan; Witsel, Zyryanov (Shatov 45), Arshavin (Fayzulin 45), Shirokov (Bystrov 82); Kerzhakov, Hulk.

• The St Petersburg club were beaten at home for the first time this term and now only top the Russian Premier League courtesy of having scored more goals than second-placed FC Lokomotiv Moskva, who are also on 36 points and have the same goal difference.

Team news
"[Nicolas] Lombaerts trained yesterday but he will not play," revealed Spalletti. "Danny and [Cristian] Ansaldi are out but we will monitor the condition of [Aleksandr] Anyukov although he missed the last two sessions."

Diego Simeone, coach
We've already played in these weather conditions, so the cold is not a problem – it's just a reason to work really hard out there.

It does not matter if we have gone through or not, nor the way we've played before. What is important is the game itself, not what is happening around it. The main thing is that on the pitch we show the hunger to win and the desire to play classy football.

Hulk is not Zenit's only strong player. They have a strong attack made up of internationals. Zenit have a strong, rapid transition from defence to attack, which could create problems for us. I cannot say which team is better, Porto or Zenit. The Portuguese have huge experience of playing at the highest level, the Russians a great opportunity and ambition.

Weekend result
Saturday: Atlético 7-0 Getafe CF (Raúl García 26, 52, Lopo 37 og, Villa 49, 78, Diego Costa 69, Adrián López 90)
Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Aldweireld, Filipe Luis; Gabi (Óliver Torres 71), Tiago, Koke (Adrián López 65), Raúl García (Diego Costa 62), Arda Turan; Villa.

• Atlético equalled their best-ever result on home soil to stay in touch with Spanish Liga leaders FC Barcelona. The 7-0 scoreline also represented Getafe's worst top-flight loss.

Team news
Midfielder Mario Suárez is out of the Zenit trip with a knee injury while Diego Godín, Tiago, Filipe Luis, Diego Costa, David Villa and Arda Turan could all be rested.

Match fact
• Atlético have never lost in Russia. Prior to last season's 1-0 UEFA Europa League round of 32 second-leg victory at FC Rubin Kazan, they had drawn 3-3 with Lokomotiv Moskva in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage – Raúl García the sole survivor of that fixture – and won 2-1 at FC Spartak Moskva in the 1972/73 European Cup Winners' Cup second round. If the latter result confirmed elimination on away goals following a 4-3 first-leg defeat, a similar story occurred against Rubin last term since Atlético had succumbed 2-0 in the Spanish capital first time out.

Last updated: 26/11/13 8.23CET