Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 FC Twente: Report
Published : 17 Mar 2011 20:19:23Rss feed
FC Twente held off a resurgent Zenit St Petersburg in the second leg of their Europa League last 16 tie, advancing 3-2 on aggregate despite suffering a 2-0 defeat in Russia.
Zenit's players took to the pitch only hours after the news that the wife of their number one goalkeeper, Vyacheslav Malafeev, had died in a car accident.
Malafeev was obviously absent from the starting line-up, but the rest of the team seemed up for the challenge from the first minute, attacking and winning a corner inside 20 seconds.
They continued to control the flow of the match and took a deserved lead in the 17th minute when midfielder Shirokov converted from six yards out to give the Russians a glimmer of hope in the tie.
Their chances of advancing in the competition they won back in 2008 - when it was known as the UEFA Cup - grew as Twente still struggled to get out of their own half, and striker Kerzhakov rifled home to reduce the aggregate deficit to one goal with eight first-half minutes still remaining.
But the visitors showed much more resilience in the second half and even managed to create some openings for themselves, most notably from Theo Janssen.
A string of further attacking opportunities did not really lead to much and Malafeev's goalkeeping replacement, Yuri Zhevnov, was rarely threatened by Twente's strikeforce.
However, it was all about the defensive capabilities of the Dutch side in the closing 10 minutes as Zenit pushed forward and dominated.
But the home side were unable to create a single clear-cut opportunity as Twente's backline, especially the imposing Oguchi Onyewu, stood firm to progress to the quarter finals.
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