Zenit St Petersburg v Celtic: Europa League second leg – live!

22 February 2018 06:26
Europa League updates from the last 32 tie (score after first leg: 0-1)Email Nick at nick.ames@theguardian.com | Tweet @NickAmes82 6.26pm GMT 25 min: And don’t forget, if Celtic do score next then Zenit have to score twice. The away goal really does count double. So there is no need to panic. 6.24pm GMT 23 min: Celtic are, for the first time, putting some calming possession together but play is halted when Zabolotny goes down, seemingly winded, after clashing with Brown. There were arms flailing off the ball there and if anything I think the Zenit forward was the aggressor. Either way, he’s paying for it with a spot of treatment. 6.22pm GMT 21 min: Forrest mugs Kuzayev and has open grass to surge into beyond halfway. Paredes knows what he’s doing in taking a yellow card – even though it also means he misses the next game if Zenit go through. 6.20pm GMT 19 min: It’s a good effort, meatily struck, but one of those that’s not quite coming down quickly enough. 6.19pm GMT 18 min: McGregor treads on Paredes’s ankle some 25 yards out after sloppy play by Kouassi (the teamsheet below says “Eboue” but from hereon we’ll call him Kouassi like the commentators). Paredes stands over it . 6.17pm GMT 16 min: Celtic look vulnerable to balls over the top at the moment; Zenit have developed a little bit of a swagger in the meantime. 6.14pm GMT 13 min: Oh, Kokorin has to do better there. He runs through towards goal after Lustig played Brown into a spot of bother, but doesn’t seem to trust his own pace and steers a tame shot into De Vries’s arms from about 20 yards. Another couple of strides and that’s a golden chance; Celtic have been let off. 6.13pm GMT 12 min: Good from Tierney, who gets past Ivanovic but sees his centre cut out. That was a positive early sign though: if they can feed Tierney more often then it seems as if he has the beating of the older player. 6.12pm GMT 11 min: Forrest takes a high boot from Kuzyaev on the right flank. It’s a booking and rightly so, he took one to the chin there and will have been pretty painful. 6.10pm GMT 9 min: What a frustration that is for Celtic, who have basically conceded from Zenit’s first incursion. The next goal is so important now. 6.09pm GMT It’s all square, and it’s the birthday boy! Ivanovic loves attacking a set piece and he does exactly that – the ball is delivered from the right and, rising above a static Simunovic, he thumps home a colossal header into the top corner! 6.08pm GMT 7 min: “Can’t beat SPb for cold as it’s only -12 down the road here in Tallinn. Though forecast for -25 next week, which is a bit nippy. Saturday is the country’s (Estonia’s) 100th birthday party but they’re worried the bands won’t be able to play because of the cold. Freezes lips to trumpets apparently. Hope Celtic haven’t brought a version of England’s Billy the Trumpeter tonight,” writes Robin Hazlehurst, hopefully from a sauna or in front of a log fire.Meanwhile Zenit show, at last, and Paredes has a low shot turned round by De Vries. It’s a corner, from which . 6.05pm GMT 5 min: No alarms for Celtic yet, and in fact it’s been fairly scrappy with neither side really showing much aptitude to string things together. If they’re as defensively focused as they were in the first leg, you’d give them a big chance. 6.03pm GMT 2 min: Celtic start well, on the front foot, and Dembele gets possession on the edge of the box but can’t turn Mevlja. How well they retain possession, usually such a skill of theirs, will be important in denying Zenit much rhythm here. 6.01pm GMT Zenit, kicking right to left, get us going. 5.59pm GMT If Zenit win here than that’ll be three Russian clubs in the last 16, with the outside chance of Spartak Moscow making it four later. They do like this competition in that part of the world. 5.57pm GMT Meanwhile, they’re on their way out onto the pitch in St Petersburg. It is, according to Rodgers, “like a spring evening” inside the stadium itself even if the chill outside is bitter . 5.55pm GMT Joy for another Russian team – Lokomotiv Moscow have just won, impressively, 4-2 on aggregate against Nice. 5.49pm GMT Rodgers speaks: “At this level it’s important you don’t make mistakes and then have that confidence to stay calm. It’s a great arena, the pitch is absolutely perfect, it’s a great opportunity for us.” 5.41pm GMT Today’s match is being played at the Krestovsky Stadium, which is going to host World Cup games right through to the semi-finals. I went to several Confederations Cup games there; it’s very nice indeed although they haven’t been without issues there. Whether it’s been the pitch or the roof, the world’s reportedly-most-expensive stadium has had some teething problems and taken a long time to get off the ground – but I can confirm it is very nice, even if the lifts were somewhat confusing last summer. There is a very nice fairground just outside, too. 5.34pm GMT Zenit St Petersburg: Lunev, Ivanovic, Mammana, Criscito, Mevlja, Kranevitter, Rigoni, Paredes, Kuzyaev, Kokorin, Zabolotny. Subs: Lodygin, Terentjev, Poloz, Driussi, Zhirkov, Smolnikov, Erokhin.Celtic: De Vries, Tierney, Ajer, Simunovic, Lustig, Ntcham, Brown, Eboue, McGregor, Forrest, Dembele. Subs: Bain, Hendry, Sinclair, Rogic, Edouard, Miller, Musonda. 5.26pm GMT It is currently -13 degrees centigrade in St Petersburg, and only getting colder. What a heartwarmer for Celtic it would be, though, if they could hold onto – or even add to – the slender first leg lead they established at home. Win this tie and they will be on course for their best Europa League finish since 2003-04, when they reached the quarter-finals – a feat they carried out a year after finishing runners-up in the competition. Fending off Zenit on their own turf, in such harsh conditions, would be an enormous tonic and a real statement that they can make a deep run into the competition this time around.Of course, this is a meeting between two managers who might rather have thought they’d be slugging it out at the top of the Premier League at this stage of their careers. Brendan Rodgers has done a marvellous job of making a dominant Celtic side even more dominant at home while honing a style sustainable enough to hold their own in Europe; Roberto Mancini has had an up and down time of things with Zenit, who are eight points behind Russian Premier League leaders Lokomotiv Moscow at the mid-season break, and may find himself coming under some real pressure if they are eliminated here. 12.24pm GMT Nick will be here shortly. In the meantime you can remind yourself what happened in the first leg at Celtic Park … Related: Celtic gain narrow advantage over Zenit with Callum McGregor’s late goal Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian