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Shirokov-inspired Zenit defeat ten-man Porto

FC Zenit St Petersburg 3-1 FC Porto
Roman Shirokov scored two and Danny the other as Zenit recovered from a goal down against visitors who had Jorge Fucile dismissed before half-time.

Shirokov-inspired Zenit defeat ten-man Porto
Shirokov-inspired Zenit defeat ten-man Porto ©UEFA.com

A goal in each half from Roman Shirokov helped FC Zenit St Petersburg get off the mark in UEFA Champions League Group G against ten-man FC Porto.

Surprisingly beaten on matchday one by APOEL FC, Zenit's first home game in the competition for three years got off to an inauspicious start when James Rodríguez gave the visitors a tenth-minute lead. While Shirokov equalised soon after, it was the dismissal of Jorge Fucile late in the first half which proved the turning point. Luciano Spalletti's side made their numerical advantage tell and they sealed the points via the Russian international's second and one from Danny.

On the day of their 118th anniversary, Porto were celebrating inside ten minutes, however. After clearing a corner, the Dragons broke incisively through Fernando Belluschi, who clipped possession into Hulk. The striker, having held up play, skipped past Konstantin Zyryanov and slid the ball across goal for Rodríguez to finish.

That merely riled Zenit, who were level ten minutes later. Viktor Fayzulin, lively down the right throughout, whipped in a cross which Helton could only palm out as far as Shirokov. One touch later and the midfielder was celebrating his sixth goal in his last seven club appearances, despite the best efforts of Fucile on the goal line.

Parity restored, Zenit began to force the issue. Though Álvaro Pereira brought the best out of Vyacheslav Malafeev at the other end, Danny was beginning to dictate proceedings against his compatriots, flashing a shot narrowly wide before half-time.

Things were beginning to go against Porto. Having seen their lead wiped out, they lost Kléber to a shoulder injury and were then a man down in added time when Fucile received his second booking, this time for handball. The second half started with last season's UEFA Europa League winners on the back foot and they immediately had the post to thank for remaining on level terms.

It was Aleksandr Kerzhakov who rattled the upright, while seconds later he was thwarted by the outrushing Helton. Defending manfully, Porto succeeded in crowding out Danny but only an offside decision saved the Liga champions on the hour as Kerzhakov's joy quickly evaporated.

A second Zenit goal seemed inevitable, though, and it arrived on 63 minutes, with the impressive Fayzulin again the source, chipping a free-kick into Shirokov for the midfielder to finish emphatically. Danny added the third after 72 minutes, tapping in Kerzhakov's deflected shot across goal, though he and Shirokov could have added to their lots in the latter stages.