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Bulykin goal cannot block Zenit's path

Published: Friday 11 April 2008, 0.56CET
Zenit Petersburg 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen (agg: 4-2) Dmitri Bulykin returned to Russia to score Leverkusen's winner but Zenit's first-leg advantage proved decisive.
by Pavel Gognidze
from Petrovsky Stadium

Match statistics


Goals scored0
Total attempts10
on target5
off target5
against woodwork0
Yellow cards0
Red Cards0
Fouls committed18
Fouls suffered18


Published: Friday 11 April 2008, 0.56CET

Bulykin goal cannot block Zenit's path

Zenit Petersburg 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen (agg: 4-2) Dmitri Bulykin returned to Russia to score Leverkusen's winner but Zenit's first-leg advantage proved decisive.

A Dmitri Bulykin goal gave Bayer 04 Leverkusen victory at FC Zenit St. Petersburg but was nowhere near enough to cancel out the Russian side's 4-1 first-leg lead which secured their place in the UEFA Cup semi-finals.

Pragmatic approach
Dick Advocaat's Zenit took a pragmatic appoach to defending their aggregate advantage and found their feet once Leverkusen had gained an early lifeline through former Russian international Bulykin's powerful header. Zenit's second-half pressure earned a late penalty, only for Anatoliy Tymoschuk to be denied by René Adler.

Leverkusen rotation
Zenit goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev had warned his team against complacency and coach Dick Advocaat duly fielded a first-choice lineup, while opposite number Michael Skibbe included several non-regulars such as Bulykin, Sascha Dum, Lukas Sinkiewicz and Pirmin Schwegler. And it was Leverkusen who showed their intent first, on four minutes, when Bulykin ran on to a dangerous through ball from the right but Malafeev dashed off his line to block.

Bulykin goal
That, initially, was a sign of things to come and in the 18th minute a fluid counterattacking move by Leverkusen resulted in the goal which Bulykin had promised to Zenit before the match. Gonzalo Castro delivered a pinpoint cross to the far post which Bulykin headed into the net with gusto, Malafeev arriving too late. Advocaat's warning about the dangers of over-confidence now seemed prophetic. Yet if the Premier-Liga champions could not turn on the creative power, Zenit's defence, marshalled by captain Tymoschuk, at least held firm after the earlier lapse.

Zenit certainly showed the effects of a half-time talking-to from Advocaat, immediately looking more dynamic after the interval. Talismanic leader Andrei Arshavin came to life with a couple of sharp passes, before sending in a shot from the edge of the area and a corner clearly directed on goal, both of which were saved by Adler. Zenit's No10 was happy to display his dead-ball ability and tried another direct shot from a corner, which Adler had to keep out at his near post, as the home pressure grew.

Post struck
Next in the Petrovsky spotlight was young Viktor Fayzulin, who blasted a free-kick centimetres over the crossbar after 65 minutes. The test for Zenit was to bring as much endeavour to what was a sometimes fractious contest as Leverkusen were putting into it. If Advocaat's team appeared unwilling to commit too many men forward on occasions, Igor Denisov should have equalised when Fayzulin's cunning one-touch pass put him into a perfect position to score. However, Adler deflected his attempt on to the post.

Penalty save
All the while the Bundesliga side kept pushing, with coach Skibbe sending on Simon Rolfes, Stefan Kiessling and Theofanis Gekas in quick succession. That left Leverkusen vulnerable at the back and, on 85 minutes, Fayzulin was brought down in the box by Karim Haggui. Adler, though, dived to his right to save Tymoschuk's low spot-kick, enabling Leverkusen to salvage some pride despite their exit. Zenit now meet FC Bayern München on 24 April and 1 May in their first semi-final in this competition.

Last updated: 11/04/08 11.43CET