Champions League 1/8 Finals
February 25, 2014
Zenit 2 – 4 Borussia Dortmund
Shatov 57, Hulk 69 pen – Mkhitaryan 4, Reus 5, Lewandowski 61, 71
St.Petersburg, Petrovsky stadium
Zenit: Lodygin – Anyukov (84 Smolnikov), Neto, Lombaerts, Criscito – Witsel, Fayzulin (84 Kerzhakov), Shatov – Hulk, Rondon, Arshavin (Tymoshchuk 15)
Borussia DortmundWeidenfeller – Piszczek, Sokratis, Friedrich, Schmelzer – Kehl, Sahin, Grosskreutz (90+1 Durm), Mkhitaryan (70 Aubameyang), Reus (85 Hofmann) – Lewandowski
Arshavin - Shatov - Hulk
Witsel - Fayzulin
Criscito - Lombaerts - Neto - Anyukov
The game was over five minutes after it began. A lightning fast Dortmund attack, Criscito was unable to match Reus’ speed, the German entered the area and even though his shot was blocked, the ball bounced to unmarked Mkhitaryan who sent it in from close range. A minute later Reus scored himself after another fast break came from the left side of Zenit defense, Mkhitaryan centered for Grosskreutz who found Reus with a short pass, and Lodygin failed to cover his near post. Dortmund had a few more scoring chances in the first half but failed to convert them.
Things somewhat improved for Zenit after the break, and there was a goal galore in the second half. 10 minutes after the restart a fast passing move involving Hulk and Fayzulin put Rondon through on goal, his shot hit the post and Shatov scored on the rebound. Rondon was offside during the buildup. Dortmund reacted almost immediately: Rondon gave away the ball in midfield (what was he doing there?), another fast break by the visitors and Lewandowski beat Lodygin sending the ball in between his legs, again the Zenit goalkeeper could have done better. Fayzulin earned a penalty by running straight into a defender in the area (there was no foul whatsoever) and from the spot Hulk smashed the ball in just under the crossbar. Again the Germans restored their two goal lead whithin minutes. Hopeless Tymoshchuk gave away the ball inside own half, Reus moved forward and found Lewandowski who scored with a well placed shot into the far corner.
Terrible performance by Zenit defense. Criscito is no longer reliable, and Luis Neto demonstrated one more time why Hubocan was the preferred choice for the right central defender position last fall. Tymoshchuk is looking towards the end of his career and it looks like he is no longer able to play at the high level. Witsel didn’t play well either. Arshavin tore a muscle in his thigh and was substituted after just 15 minutes. He’ll be out of action for about 3 weeks. Most likely, the best Russian player of his generation will never play at the World Cup as the Russian national team coach Fabio Capello had not included Arshavin into the prospective squad list for Brasil-2014. Fayzulin and especially Shatov had a good game, and Rondon impressed me a lot despite that his mistake led to one of the Dortmund goals.
Zenit’s terrible European campaign of this season now looks over; there is still hope that the team will be able to keep the first place in the league though. From other team news, Roman Shirokov was loaned out to Krasnodar until the end of the season. His Zenit contarct also expires in the summer but it is possible that he signs for Zenit again, if Spalletti (finally) leaves the club at the end of the season. Shirokov had a conflict with the coach and it doesn’t look like the two are willing to work together any more.
Next Match: Sun March 9, 6:30pm Zenit – Tom Tomsk