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Zenit hang on at Hajduk to reach last 32

HNK Hajduk Split 2-3 FC Zenit St. Petersburg
Two second-half penalties were decisive in Zenit maintaining their 100% record and reaching the round of 32 despite a home fightback.

Zenit celebrate after Aleksei Ionov's goal
Zenit celebrate after Aleksei Ionov's goal ©Getty Images

FC Zenit St. Petersburg suffered a scare but nevertheless held on at HNK Hajduk Split to maintain their 100% record and book a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as the winners of Group G.

Zenit took 32 minutes to pick up from where they left off in beating Hajduk 2-0 on Matchday 3, Aleksei Ionov on the mark, before Szabolcs Huszti and Alessandro Rosina profited from penalties early in the second half. If Marin Ljubičić's goal gave Hajduk hope, Ante Vukušić's strike caused optimism abound, but it was too little, too late.

Zenit's pre-eminence allowed them a pedestrian opening which Hajduk, still firmly in the race for qualification, could scarcely afford. Indeed, when opportunity came knocking for the hosts, Marin Tomasov reacted first but lacked sufficient composure to find the target.

Unlike their hosts, Zenit possessed another gear. Rosina was first to suggest they had found their stride, bending narrowly wide with his left foot. That same boot proved decisive on 24 minutes, providing a corner met by Fernando Meira's head. Danijel Subašić palmed on to a post but Ionov rifled in the rebound.

Though Subašić was beaten through his legs on that occasion, he had all his bases covered twice before half-time, impressively denying Huszti and Rosina. Both men had their revenge six minutes into the second half.

Jurica Buljat was the guilty party, conceding two spot kicks which were dispatched with varying ease. While Huszti converted with minimum fuss, Rosina required a second bite at the cherry, Subašić's heroics this time in vain.

Ljubičić headed wide from a corner soon after but was far more clinical on the ground 21 minutes from time, controlling on his chest, swivelling and finishing precisely. When Vukušić volleyed in with eight minutes left, anything looked possible, but Hajduk's comeback proved a false dawn.