• FC Zenit earn a narrow first-leg win in their UEFA Champions League play-off tie
• Oleg Shatov scores the only goal at R. Standard de Liège after a fine build-up
• José Rondón goes close to making it 2-0, hitting the bar on the stroke of half-time
• Danny also rattles the woodwork for the visitors in the second period
• Zenit are well-placed to reach their fourth consecutive group stage
Zenit took a large stride towards the UEFA Champions League group stage with a 1-0 victory over Standard in the play-off first leg in Belgium.
The Russian side dominated the opening exchanges and Hulk almost put them ahead after 14 minutes, cutting in from the left only to be denied by an unorthodox save from Eiji Kawashima.
Two minutes later, though, Zenit got their reward in fine style. Domenico Criscito started the move, scooping a lovely pass into the penalty area and the path of Danny. The Portuguese chested it down for Hulk, whose ball across goal picked out Shatov to deliver a lovely side-footed finish. Rondón almost supplied a second after being played in by Danny but his lofted effort came back off the crossbar.
Hulk's deflected free-kick was kept out by Kawashima but at 1-0 the visitors' lead was always precarious and a Viktor Fayzulin mistake let in Tony Watt for Standard's best chance of the night. The Scot could not capitalise. Zenit looked to press their advantage home, Danny's 70th-minute strike crashing off the post, although Zenit were almost left to rue their missed opportunities when Yuri Lodygin was called upon to tip over from Jeff Louis.
The return leg is in St Petersburg next Tuesday.
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