Champions League

Zenit edge Gent to maintain perfect start

2015-09-30 08:26
Champions League (logo)

Moscow - Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg maintained their perfect start in Champions League Group H with a 2-1 win over Belgian side Gent on Tuesday.

Goals by striker Artem Dzyuba and midfielder Oleg Shatov allowed Zenit to take a significant step towards qualification as they collected maximum points to top their group, three points ahead of second-placed Valencia, who beat Lyon 1-0 in the other Group H encounter.

Midfielder Thomas Matton was on target for Gent.

"We were fantastic, we deserved this win," Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "We didn't have a lot of posession but we had much more chances than Gent."

"Our strategy was to be compact and wait for chances on the counter-attack like we did in Valencia and it worked well for us.

"We took six points from two games. We have four more games to play and we have a good chance (to qualify) if we continue this way."

Zenit, cheered on by a capacity 21,000 crowd at Petrovsky stadium, started in lively fashion and in the fourth minute Ezequiel Garay forced Gent goalkeeper Matz Sels into a remarkable diving save with a well-struck free kick from 23 metres.

In the 18th minute the home team wasted an even better chance when Dzyuba failed to convert Igor Smolnikov's cross from the right, sending the ball wide from seven metres.

But in the 35th minute, Zenit broke the deadlock when Hulk set up Dzyuba and the Russian international headed home from the edge of the six-yard box.

After the interval, the visitors stepped up a gear and in the 56th minute skipper Sven Kums found the unmarked Matton in the area and he kept his cool to fire into the corner from close range.

In the 67th minute Hulk, surrounded by five Gent defenders, slipped a pass into the area to Shatov, who restored Zenit's lead, lobbing the ball over the helpless Sels after beating the offside trap.

Gent poured forward in search of an equaliser but Zenit, who have won all five of their previous home meetings with Belgian clubs in European competition, held firm.

"I didn't expect we would be so good in posession, creating some chances, but maybe not enough," Gent head coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck said.

"Unfortunately we have not reacted well enough on Zenit's counters. We need to be more professional and act smarter before the situation becomes too dangerous.

"There's something we need to learn and we're going to improve on it. Hopefully it will gain us some more points in the upcoming games."

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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