Zenit facing fight to hold on to crown

FC Zenit St. Petersburg's grip on the UEFA Cup looks to be slipping with the holders 2-0 down after the away leg of their Round of 16 tie against Udinese Calcio, Serie A's last contenders in Europe this season.

Udinese scored two late goals against Zenit in the first leg
Udinese scored two late goals against Zenit in the first leg ©Getty Images

FC Zenit St. Petersburg's grip on the UEFA Cup looks to be slipping with the holders 2-0 down after the away leg of their Round of 16 tie against Udinese Calcio, Serie A's last contenders in Europe this season.

• The Russian side appeared set to leave the Stadio Friuli with a goalless draw, but an 85th-minute Fabio Quagliarella strike and Antonio Di Natale's penalty two minutes from time saw Udinese end a miserable week for Italian sides on an up note, with three of their Serie A rivals having been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the first knockout round.

• The first leg was the two sides' first meeting in UEFA club competition.

• Udinese will be contesting their third game against a Russian side, having had their first taste of Premier-Liga opposition in the group stage of this season's UEFA Cup, winning 2-1 at FC Spartak Moskva.

• Zenit's record against Italian sides now reads P5 W0 D2 L3, with their two home games against Serie A opponents ending in a 3-0 defeat by Bologna FC in the 1999/00 UEFA Cup first round, and a 0-0 draw at home to Juventus in this season's UEFA Champions League. They have thus never won or scored at home against an Italian side.

• Udinese coach Pasquale Marino's only games against Russian opponents were the aforementioned win against Spartak in Moscow and last week's victory against Zenit.

• Zenit boss Dick Advocaat has a little more experience of Italian sides. In addition to his games against Udinese and Juventus with his current club, he was in charge for two two-legged ties against Parma FC as Rangers FC manager. His overall record against Italian sides in UEFA competition reads P7 W1 D2 L4.

• Advocaat's three home games as a club coach against Italian sides have ended in a win and two draws.

• Advocaat was also the Netherlands coach when his side lost 3-2 at home against Italy in a 1992 friendly game, Gianluca Vialli scoring the winner in Eindhoven after Dennis Bergkamp had struck twice to give the Oranje an early 2-0 lead.

• Zenit have won only one of their European home games since beating Rangers 2-0 in last season's UEFA Cup final in Manchester, with the other three producing two draws and a defeat.

• Zenit have twice recovered from being two goals down after the first leg of a European tie to progress. In the 2004/05 UEFA Cup second qualifying round, they trailed SK Austria Kärnten 3-1 following the first leg but prevailed on away goals courtesy of a 2-0 home win. Then, in last season's UEFA Cup Round of 16, they lost 3-1 at Olympique de Marseille before redeeming themselves with a 2-0 win at the Petrovsky Stadium.

• Udinese have lost just once in seven games since the start of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, going down 2-0 at NEC Nijmegen in their final Group D fixture. That defeat was their only away loss in four games this season.

• Udinese have only once lost a European tie after winning the first leg at home, taking a 1-0 advantage to PAOK FC in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup second round, only to lose the return 3-0.

• They let a two-goal first-leg lead slip in this season's UEFA Cup first round, winning 2-0 at BV Borussia Dortmund before losing at home by the same margin. They went on to celebrate at the end of the contest, however, as they defeated the German side 4-3 on penalties to earn a group-stage berth.

• Zenit are one of four sides left in the UEFA Cup who qualified for 2008/09 European competition as domestic league champions, the others being Galatasaray AŞ (Turkey), Aalborg BK (Denmark) and FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).

• Zenit are also one of four clubs still in the competition to have won the UEFA Cup along with AFC Ajax (1991/92), PFC CSKA Moskva (2004/05) and Galatasaray (1999/00).

• Advocaat is the only coach left in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup who has led a side to success in the competition before. Galatasaray boss Bülent Korkmaz won the UEFA Cup with the Turkish club in 1999/00, but as a player.

• Fabio Quagliarella is Udinese's top European scorer this season with five goals. Danny is Zenit's top marksman with two.

• Udinese finished seventh in Serie A last season to enter the UEFA Cup first round. They won UEFA Cup Group D and then beat KKS Lech Poznań in the Round of 32, drawing 2-2 in Poland and winning 2-1 at home.

• Zenit finished third in UEFA Champions League Group H to qualify for the UEFA Cup Round of 32. They beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 home and away to earn their last-16 place.

• Zenit have never been involved in a penalty shoot-out in UEFA club competition.

• Udinese were involved in their debut UEFA competition penalty shoot-out in the aforementioned first-round game in this season's UEFA Cup when they beat Dortmund 4-3 on spot-kicks after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

• Zenit's Aleksandr Anyukov and Roman Shirokov are both serving suspensions for the second leg, with Danny, Ivica Križanac and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk also within a yellow card of a one-match ban.

• Udinese's Maurizio Domizzi is suspended, while Emanuele Belardi Gaetano D'Agostino and Andrea Coda are within a caution of a suspension. Coach Marino is also serving a touchline ban, having been sent to the stands before the end of the first leg against Zenit.

• The draw for both the quarter-finals and semi-finals takes place in Nyon on 20 March, exactly two months before the final at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul on 20 May.

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