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Classy Zenit stay perfect with win against Anderlecht

FC Zenit St Petersburg 3-1 RSC Anderlecht
Luciano Spalletti's side won comfortably to maintain their 100% Group G record and leave the visitors facing an uphill struggle to qualify.

Zenit made it five group victories from five by overcoming Anderlecht
Zenit made it five group victories from five by overcoming Anderlecht ©Getty Images

FC Zenit St Petersburg maintained their 100% Group G record and put RSC Anderlecht's own qualification out of their hands with a 3-1 win against the Belgian side.

Clinical all campaign, it was once again Zenit's touch of class when it mattered which proved decisive against an Anderlecht team who prodded and probed to no avail throughout. Aleksei Ionov opened the scoring on 12 minutes and Aleksandr Bukharov doubled the deficit in the 65th. Kanu and Szabolcs Huszti exchanged late goals but the outcome was scarcely in doubt.

The composure of Danny in a floating role for Zenit typified the difference between the two sides, and it was he who unlocked Anderlecht's defence for the opener, Ionov providing a cool finish to complement the playmaker's slick through ball.

Danny again started the move which ended in Konstantin Zyryanov striking a post from close range on 26 minutes, but it was Alessandro Rosina who was the architect just after the half-hour when Ionov was denied by Silvio Proto.

The visitors lacked a similar spark and only forced Vyacheslav Malafeev on to the frozen turf through luck more than design, Jan Polák's scuffed shot requiring the Zenit goalkeeper's intervention on 32 minutes. It was a familiar figure who provided the artistry to put Zenit two up, Danny's dinked pass allowing Bukharov the time to control and pick his spot.

Beaten twice beyond his control, Proto promptly kept his side in the game with two fine saves in less than a minute, the first denying substitute Maksim Kanunnikov from barely a metre and the second ensuring Rosina's delicate chip struck the bar.

Kanu's late header gave the visitors the briefest hope but Huszti soon saw to that, scrambling in only 60 seconds later to ensure a repeat of the scoreline when these sides met on Matchday 1.