FC Zenit St. Petersburg made history by winning 4-0 against FC Bayern München in their UEFA Cup semi-final second leg and reaching their first European final.
The Russian champions combined resolute defending with lethal finishing, to leave Bayern wondering what exactly had hit them after a contest in which the territorial advantage was theirs. Goals from Pavel Pogrebnyak and Konstantin Zyrianov set Zenit on their way in the first half, before Victor Fayzulin and Pogrebnyak then consigned Bayern to a painful defeat.
Zenit, without the suspended Andrei Arshavin, Radek Šírl and Fernando Ricksen, as well as Nicolas Lombaerts and Kim Dong Jin through injury, had only two available defenders – Ivica Križanac and Aleksandr Anyukov. These were joined at the back by Roman Shirokov, a recent convert to the centre-half position, and 38-year-old Olexandr Gorshkov, a makeshift left-back. Bayern recovered Lucio, rested at the weekend following his own goal in Munich, and Luca Toni from a ban. The Italian international's inclusion was the only change to Ottmar Hitzfeld's lineup from the 1-1 first-leg draw.
Bayern started brightly and created their first chance in the second minute when Miroslav Klose connected with Toni's flick-on but Shirokov cleared the ball off the line with Vyacheslav Malafeev beaten. Yet just 90 seconds later the Petrovsky Stadium erupted as Pogrebnyak delivered on his pre-match promise to take care of Zenit's scoring by blasting a 25-metre free-kick through the wall and past Oliver Kahn.
The breakthrough was the prelude to a spell of sustained Bayern pressure. The Bundesliga leaders controlled possession and peppered Zenit's box with crosses. A couple of free-kicks were won in the vicinity of Malafeev's goal, but for all their dominance, Bayern could not convert any openings until Franck Ribéry unleashed a shot which Malafeev collected at the second attempt. Zenit's response was far more dangerous. Alejandro Dominguez played in Anyukov on the right side of the area and his close-range strike was saved by the legs of Kahn. The German team looked to Toni for inspiration, and he almost provided it but headed over the bar when well-placed.
As ever, though, the attacks by Dick Advocaat's men, if fewer in number, were greater in quality: on 39 minutes another well-timed pass by Dominguez was turned into a goal by Zyrianov, who sold a dummy to Martín Demichelis before steering the ball into the far corner as he strode into the box. Hitzfeld's reaction was to introduce Lukas Podolski and Christian Lell for Zé Roberto and Marcell Jansen at half-time, a move which almost paid dividends when Podolski set up Toni to force a reflex save from Malafeev. Bastian Schweinsteiger also tested the keeper with a strong shot.
Such was the script of this match that for every Bayern chance there was a opportunity for the hosts – and Zenit converted theirs with near German precision. This time, on 53 minutes, Anyukov delivered an inch-perfect cross into the area which Fayzulin powered in, with his head, just under the crossbar with Kahn stranded. Bayern were shell-shocked. Hitzfeld sent on José Ernesto Sosa for the injured Klose. Lell made space for Podolski to rifle an effort over. Schweinsteiger solicited another fine stop from Malafeev.
But still they could find no way through the calm, confident Zenit defence. And, yet again, Zenit had the perfect riposte. Dominguez breezed past Philipp Lahm down the right and rolled across a masterful pass for Pogrebnyak to finish with pinpoint accuracy into the bottom corner. This left Pogrebnyak – whose yellow card rules him out of the 14 May final in Manchester – as the UEFA Cup's ten-goal top scorer alongside Toni.