FC Zenit St Petersburg capped a memorable summer for Russian football with a fine display of passing football to defeat Manchester United FC 2-1 in Monaco.
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Manchester United FC 1-2 FC Zenit St. Petersburg
(Vidić 73; Pogrebnyak 44, Danny 59)
FC Zenit St. Petersburg produced a fine display of passing football to claim the UEFA Super Cup for the first time, a goal in each half from Pavel Pogrebnyak and debutant Danny securing victory against Manchester United FC in Monaco.
It had been a memorable few months for Russian football, Zenit's UEFA Cup triumph in May preceding the national side's run to the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finals, and the St Petersburg club wrote another proud chapter in their history in Monte Carlo, both goals coming from players with particular motivation to shine.
Pogrebnyak, who missed both the UEFA Cup final and EURO through suspension and injury respectively, headed the first a minute before half-time and man of the match Danny marked his first game with a goal in the 59th minute.
Although Nemanja Vidić halved the deficit, United had left themselves too much to do and Paul Scholes became the first player to be sent off in the fixture late on as Zenit held on to add another trophy ahead of their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign.
"I think if you see the chances we created it was a deserved win," said Dick Advocaat, whose side became the first Russian winners of the competition. "The start was a bit difficult as for 15 minutes we had some problems with the movement of the strikers. From a certain moment we started controlling things and creating chances, although we didn't score enough. Tonight we gave a warning so people can know what to expect."
United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson concurred, saying: "I think you can't deny that Zenit deserved to win the game. They probably shaded it from us, although there was not much in it. We played better at 2-0 down, created more good chances, and when we scored there was still plenty of time to recover and get back into it. It was a good open game, the teams put in a lot of work on a hot night. I'd like to congratulate St Petersburg on their victory."