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Witsel ruled out of Zenit opener

Belgian international Axel Witsel has picked up a hamstring injury on the eve of FC Zenit St Petersburg's opening UEFA Champions League group stage match at Málaga CF.

Axel Witsel will miss Zenit's first group stage game
Axel Witsel will miss Zenit's first group stage game ©Getty Images

Axel Witsel will miss FC Zenit St Petersburg's opening UEFA Champions League group stage match at Málaga CF after he picked up a hamstring injury.

The 23-year-old Belgian international sustained the injury on the eve of Zenit's departure for Spain, though no time frame will be given concerning his recovery until after a detailed scan.

Midfielder Witsel completed his move to Zenit from SL Benfica last Monday along with Brazil striker Hulk, who signed from FC Porto, and both players made their debuts during Zenit's 2-0 loss at home to FC Terek Grozny on Friday.

Witsel is one of four Zenit team members who will miss the match at La Rosaleda, along with full-back Domenico Criscito, midfielder Sergei Semak and striker Danny. Another of Zenit's new signings full-back Renat Yanbaev is not registered for the UEFA Champions League.

Along with Málaga, the Russian champions will play seven-time winners AC Milan and RSC Anderlecht in Group C.