Zenit poised to finish off Paços
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
FC Zenit hold all the aces as they enter their play-off second leg with a 4-1 advantage over an FC Paços de Ferreira side yet to score an away goal in European competition.
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FC Paços de Ferreira need a footballing miracle to revive their UEFA Champions League ambitions as they visit FC Zenit for the second leg of their play-off tie with a 4-1 deficit from the first leg.
• Zenit took a big step towards the group stage when beating the tournament newcomers 4-1 in Porto with a hat-trick from Roman Shirokov (27, 60, 90) and a Matias Degra own goal (85). The visitors' last three goals came after André Leão (58) had briefly put Paços back on level terms.
• Paços, competing in the UEFA Champions League for the first time, have never before scored an away goal in European competition but now need at least four from their trip to the Stadion Petrovski. In contrast, Zenit have lost just once in Europe at the ground since September 2008.
• The 2012/13 Russian runners-up, Zenit are bidding for a fourth group stage appearance having participated in 2008/09, 2011/12 and 2012/13.
• Luciano Spalletti's men finished third in their group last season and went on to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16 before losing to FC Basel 1893.
• Before losing to AC Milan in the 2012/13 group stage, Zenit had gone 16 games unbeaten at home in UEFA competition. Including their 5-0 defeat of FC Nordsjælland in the third qualifying round they have won three of their last four home outings in Europe, and have lost just one of their last 22.
• Paços had never before finished higher than sixth in Portugal's top flight before last year's third-place finish under Paulo Fonseca, the coach who subsequently departed for Porto.
• The club's technical director Costinha has a UEFA Champions League winners' medal from Porto's 2004 triumph, yet his team have a more modest pedigree. Paços made their European debut in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round, losing 1-0 on aggregate to AZ Alkmaar. In UEFA Europa League qualifying in 2009/10 they overcame FC Zimbru Chisinau 1-0 on aggregate, but lost 2-0 on aggregate to Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC in the third qualifying round.
• Andrey Arshavin hit the second goal when Zenit beat Vitória SC 2-1 at home in their first meeting with Portuguese opponents in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage. Aleksandr Anyukov and Aleksandr Kerzhakov also played in that tie with Vyacheslav Malafeev on the bench.
• Zenit's overall home record against visitors from Portugal is W3 D1 L0, but they lost their two previous two-legged contests with Liga opposition. They went down 5-4 on aggregate to CD Nacional in a 2009/10 UEFA Europa League play-off, drawing 1-1 at home, and fell 4-3 to SL Benfica in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16 despite a 3-2 home success.
• UEFA Cup winners in 2008, Zenit have played in only one previous UEFA Champions League play-off, losing to AJ Auxerre in 2010/11.
• As AS Roma coach, Spalletti faced Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 2007/08 group stage, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 2-2 in Lisbon.
• Costinha and assistant coach Maniche were in the Portugal team that beat a Russia side including Malafeev, Anyukov and Arshavin 7-1 in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Lisbon in October 2004.
• Four months earlier Maniche had scored his first international goal as he and Costinha helped Portugal to a 2-0 win over the Russia of Vladimir Bystrov, Kerzhakov and Malafeev in the UEFA EURO 2004 group stage.
• Costinha and Maniche played in Porto's 0-0 home draw and 1-0 away win against PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Costinha and Maniche played with Danny at FC Dinamo Moskva from 2006 to 2008.
• Danny had five years in Portugal with CS Marítimo (2000-2002) and Sporting (2002-2005), playing five times against Paços without scoring.
• Luís Neto was in the SC Varzim youth ranks when Nuno Santos played for the club in 2004/05. Neto scored for Nacional in a 2-2 draw with Paços in a 2011/12 Portuguese Cup fourth-round tie that his team won on penalties. The Paços side included António Filipe, André Leão, Manuel José, Filipe Anunciação and Rui Caetano.
• Hulk spent four seasons at Porto from 2008 to 2012. In 99 league games he scored 54 goals, including five in ten matches in all competitions against Paços. In 2009 he helped Porto beat Paços 2-0 to win the Portuguese Super Cup, but was sent off against them a week later on the opening day of the league campaign.
• Sérgio Oliveira played with Hulk at Porto in 2008/09 and 2009/10.
• Rui Miguel made four league outings on loan at FK Krasnodar in 2011, scoring one goal.
• In his only full season at Benfica in 2011/12, Alex Witsel faced Paços twice in the league and won both matches.