Zenit Qualify For EL Quarterfinals: Torino 1 – 0 Zenit

Europa League, Last 16 Second Leg
March 19, 2015
Torino 1 – 0 Zenit
Goal: Glik 90
Turin, Grande Torino Stadium

Torino: Padelli – Maksimovic, Glik (c), Moretti – Molinaro (82 Amauri), El Kaddouri (76 Josef Martinez), Gazzi, Farnerud (64 Bovo), Darmian – Quagliarella, Maxi Lopez
Zenit: Lodygin – Smolnikov, Neto, Garay, Criscito – Witsel, Tymoshchuk, Danny (c) (87 Lombaerts) – Shatov (81 Ryazantsev), Rondon, Hulk

      Hulk - Rondon - Shatov
              Danny
       Witsel - Tymoshchuk
Criscito - Garay - Neto - Smolnikov
             Lodygin

The hosts were the better side in the first half and created a few scoring chances. Zenit took a cautious approach to the game having in mind their comfortable 2-0 lead from the first leg.

The visitors looked very solid in the second half but on one occasion Torino’s Polish captain Kamil Glik headed in a free kick, luckily the goal was justly disallowed for offside. In the last 10-15 minutes Torino pushed forward and Lodygin was forced into making a few excellent saves to deny the Italians. Torino played the last minutes with 4 strikers after their coach Ventura substituted Molinaro and El Kaddouri for two additional forwards. This of course reminded of the last season when he successfully played 4-2-4 formation in the league. Back then however, he had the likes of Cerci and Immobile playing upfront, the kind of players he doesn’t have now. Anyway, the hosts eventually scored in the last minute of normal time, again Glik heading in after a corner. This guy has an amazing ability to attack the set pieces. The nervous last minutes followed, but Zenit held on to the result, substitute defender Lombaerts made a goalline save on one occasion.

Rondon in some disagreement with Torino players prior to a free kick by the hosts

The Petersburgers were drawn to play Sevilla in the quarterfinals, with the first leg to be played in Spain. Both left and right backs (Criscito and Smolnikov) will be unavailable through suspensions, as well as Hulk and Danny. This is a significant blow for the Petersburgers, especially because they currently lack the depth of squad. Sevilla is the current cup holder and is a serious force, unfortunately I expect them to decide this encounter in the first leg already because Zenit will be weakened by the suspensions.

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