FC Zenit St Petersburg will go in search of their ninth successive European home victory when they welcome Group G rivals FC Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday four.
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FC Zenit St Petersburg will seek an ninth successive European home win when they host FC Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday four.
• Zenit drew 2-2 in Donetsk last time out, twice coming from behind to earn a point that left them second in Group G. Shakhtar, by contrast, sit two points adrift at the bottom.
• These clubs were old rivals in the Soviet era and their final top-flight encounters in the 1989 season brought a 1-0 home victory for each.
• Shakhtar squeezed past Zenit three times in Soviet Cup semi-finals in the 1980s, winning on penalties each time. They went on to lift the trophy in 1983 but lost subsequent finals in 1985 and 1986. The Donetsk club suffered a shoot-out loss to Zenit in the 1977 quarter-finals.
• Zenit have won their last eight European home matches, including a 3-1 defeat of FC Porto on matchday two. They won all seven home fixtures en route to last season's UEFA Europa League last 16. The last European visitors to avoid defeat against Zenit were CD Nacional, with a 1-1 draw on 27 August 2009.
• Having lost at Porto already, Shakhtar have work to do to maintain a recent tradition of winning two of their three group stage away games – as managed in the 2010/11 and 2008/09 UEFA Champions League, and the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League.
• While this is Zenit's first home meeting with a Ukrainian team in UEFA competition, Shakhtar overcame PFC CSKA Moskva in the last 16 of their triumphant 2008/09 UEFA Cup campaign, overturning a 1-0 reverse in Moscow through Fernandinho's penalty and Luiz Adriano.
• Shakhtar, who have won five and lost five of their last ten European away games, have faced a Russian outfit only once before in the UEFA Champions League. They succumbed 3-2 on aggregate to FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the 2003/04 third qualifying round.
• Zenit's Luciano Spalletti met Shakhtar's Mircea Lucescu once in Serie A as coaches of UC Sampdoria and FC Internazionale Milano respectively. Spalletti's Samp side were 4-0 home winners on 21 March 1999, a match that proved Lucescu's last in charge.
• With AS Roma, Spalletti enjoyed an identical home victory against Shakhtar in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage. Although his Roma team later lost 1-0 at Shakhtar's old RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium, they still claimed second place at the Ukrainian side's expense.
• In the following season's group stage, Spalletti led Roma to two wins against FC Dynamo Kyiv, 4-1 in Ukraine and 2-0 at home.
• Aleksandr Kerzakhov played for Sevilla FC in a 2-2 home draw with Shakhtar in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup round of 16, missing the second leg through injury.
• Henrik Mkhitaryan faced Russia twice this year with Armenia in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying. His side earned a 0-0 home draw in March but suffered a 3-1 loss in June at Zenit's Petrovski Stadion in a match pitting him against Aleksandr Anyukov, Igor Denisov and Konstantin Zyryanov.
• Eduardo scored past Yuri Zhevnov in Croatia's 3-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying win in Belarus in September 2009. The Belarus goalkeeper faced Ukraine in the same campaign, taking on Shakhtar's Andriy Pyatov, Dmytro Chygrynskiy, Olexandr Kucher, Olexiy Gai and Vasyl Kobin. Zhevnov went down 1-0 in Lviv but kept a clean sheet in a Minsk stalemate.
• Zhevnov's Belarus drew home (0-0) and away (2-2) draws with Răzvan Raţ's Romania in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.
• Domenico Criscito helped Italy beat Ukraine 2-0 in a March friendly in Kyiv. Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Yevhen Seleznyov and Taras Stepanenko were in the home lineup.
• Sergei Semak captained the FC Rubin Kazan side held 0-0 by Dynamo Kyiv in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage, following a 3-1 away reverse. He earlier featured for Russia in a 1-1 home draw with Ukraine in UEFA EURO 2000 qualifying that followed a 3-2 away defeat.