Any hopes FC Bayern München had of a smooth passage to the UEFA Cup final disappeared as a resilient FC Zenit St. Petersburg team took home a 1-1 draw from Germany.
Franck Ribéry's 18th-minute goal had given Bayern the initiative yet Zenit deserved some reward for an increasingly positive display and it arrived with a Lucio own goal on the hour. With Andrei Arshavin and Lukas Podolski failing to deliver a late twist, the tie will be decided on 1 May in Russia, where the hosts will be without Arshavin, Fernando Ricksen and Radek Šírl after yellow cards tonight.
On a high
Bayern came out with the confidence of a side who had lifted the German Cup at the weekend. An early chance for Bastian Schweinsteiger was miscued and the midfielder was then caught in two minds when fed by Philipp Lahm – his inclination being to pass, the opportunity was lost. The first hint of danger from Zenit arrived with a searching through ball by Konstantin Zyrianov which just eluded Pavel Pogrebnyak. Front man Pogrebnyak would be better supported by the promptings of Arshavin and Victor Fayzulin when, late in the opening period, the visitors finally settled as an offensive unit.
Paying the penalty
The game was approaching a critical moment when a one-two between Zé Roberto and Ribéry split the Zenit back line. And that pairing earned a penalty for the Bundesliga leaders seconds later. Zé Roberto lifted a high leg in an attempt to reach Lahm's right-wing cross. Zenit full-back Ricksen, playing because of debilitating injuries to Dick Advocaat's defence, had the same thought but caught his opponent to concede the spot-kick. Ribéry shot into the midriff of Vyacheslav Malafeev but was cool enough to tuck in the rebound with his left foot.
Bayern were carrying a constant threat by the midway stage of the first half, typified when only a superb tackle by Anatoliy Tymoschuk cut out Podolski's dart into the six-metre box. Against the flow, Zyrianov made space to fire in an effort which Oliver Kahn got down to save. Zé Roberto maintained the pressure on the Russian champions by timing a sideways run to meet Miroslav Klose's pass, yet succeeded merely in angling the ball wide.
Variation on a theme
Schweinsteiger, ending the first 45 minutes as he had begun them, made a fuss of a shooting chance created by Ribéry's driving run which had left Zenit captain Tymoschuk on his backside. There was variation on the theme within moments of the restart. A Ribéry air shot allowed Schweinsteiger to take responsibility with a thumping drive; his cross-cum-shot also worked the goalkeeper.
By the hour mark, the Zenit players were showing more authority in possession although that did not take the surprise factor away from their goal. Fayzulin, crossing in hope, got more than he expected when Lucio flicked a defensive header out of reach of Kahn's right hand. Immediately, Pogrebnyak and Tymoschuk had openings which could have doubled the yield. Bayern might have done the same before the equaliser: Zé Roberto, a master of timing, raced into enemy territory, back-heeled the ball and saw Podolski's ensuing strike smash off a defender.
Bayern, never particularly accommodating hosts, would not have complained had Zenit retreated back into their shells. Arshavin should have sprung the offside trap. Then Fayzulin's flick was cleared off the line by Zé Roberto with substitute keeper Michael Rensing, who had replaced the injured Kahn, in no-man's land. For Ottmar Hitzfeld's team, the outstanding attempt of a frenzied final quarter came from Lucio – a powerful drive tipped over by Malafeev.