The final whistle goes at the Petrovski Stadium, and it has ended in a goalless draw which sends APOEL Nicosia into the last 16 of the Champions League - what a performance! It was a defensive masterclass, and Zenit have been denied! Thanks for joining us.
- 2nd Half
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
FC Zenit - APOEL Nicosia
Champions League - 24 November 2011
Champions League – Follow the Football match between FC Zenit and APOEL Nicosia live with Eurosport. The match starts at 04:00 on 24 November 2011. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Pardo makes another superb claim as a high ball comes into his box, and he continues to distinguish himself.
Paulo Jorge is booked by the referee as he makes a late challenge on Lazovic, and Zenit can build from this set piece.
Zenit protest vehemently for a penalty as Anyukov goes down, but the officials are not having any of it.
Adorno comes on now as Trickovski makes way, and APOEL are out of options now.
Lazovic comes on to replace Shirokov, and Zenit make another change.
Denisov attempts a hugely ambitious shot from range, and that is pretty poor given the options.
Trickovski is caught offside as he makes an early run, and he does at least kill some time.
APOEL are battling extremely hard to keep themselves in this, and Jorge makes a superb challenge on Danny.
Lombaerts is booked for a late challenge, and that is a crude challenge.
Shirokov is ruled offside as he looks to latch on to a through ball from Denisov, and the hosts are very frustrated.
Spalletti is out on the touchline and is extremely animated as his side look to break down this stubborn APOEL defence.
It's one-way traffic as APOEL defend deep inside their own half, looking merely to hang on.
Pardo makes a very fine save as Danny has a shot from the edge of the box, and he has been superb this evening!
A comedy of errors ensues at the back from APOEL as the ball has to be twice cleared off the line by Nuno Morais and Marcelo Oliveira as the visitors struggle to clear the ball under pressure!
Pardo makes another fine save as Bystrov squirts a rather tame shot on target from close range, and he really should have done better!
Both sides exchange attacks - first Athos Solomou then Danny skipping past their markers on the flanks, but disappointing crosses are claimed by the respective keepers.
APOEL enjoy a good spell of possession finally, and the visitors are content to simply keep the ball in their own half.
What a chance for Zenit! Bukharov is denied with a powerful header as Pardo tips the ball onto the bar, before the forward slices the rebound wide with a poor volley!
Finally, we're back underway as the players re-emerge. Let's hope that there will not be any further stoppages.
The players remain off the field as the crowd are implored to behave by some of the Zenit players.
Oh dear, there is another hold up in play as a flare sees the entire ground covered in smoke, and the referee hauls the players off the field! This is a farce!
Bystrov comes on to replace Zyryanov, and Zenit make their first change of the match.
Ilia is shown the yellow card just minutes after coming on as he handles the ball unnecessarily.
Malafeev claims a high ball in the Zenit box with real confidence and in commanding fashion before releasing Hubocan.
Criscito misses the target with a wild shot from range, and Zenit look extremely fired up for this second half.
Ilia comes on to replace Alexandrou for APOEL as Jovanovic makes a change.
The second half is underway at the Petrovski Stadion, and APOEL are battling furiously to stamp their authority on the match.
The half-time whistle goes, and it is goalless between Zenit and APOEL with the hosts having enjoyed the vast majority of chances but having nothing to show for their efforts.
Danny again surges down the left at pace and looks very threatening, but his cross is claimed in commanding fashion by Pardo.
There will be four added minutes as a result of 'Flare-gate', and Zenit continue to dominate the game in terms of both chances and possession.
Fayzulin is booked for a foul, and seconds later Alexandrou follows him into the referee's book for a high challenge.
What a save from Pardo! Alexandrou misses his kick very sloppily, but Pardo makes an excellent save from Fayzulin's shot to bail out his team-mate!
Finally, we're back underway at the Petrovski Stadium, and Zenit regain possession.
The officials are rightly refusing to allow play to continue until the smoke has lifted, and one individual with a flare spoils the game.
The hold up in play continues as the officials and players hold their noses and shield their eyes from the smoke...
The ground is suddenly submerged in smoke, and the game has to be held up - how frustrating...
APOEL stroke the ball around at the back once more, and the visitors continue to find themselves firmly under the cosh.
Danny continues to cause havoc with his late runs, and the forward gets a cross into the box from the left which no one latches on to.
Zenit continue to create very good chances, and APOEL are really struggling to get a grip themselves.
Shirokov has a shot blocked as Aleksandr Bukharov is through one-on-one, but the tight angle convinces him to pull the ball back for his team-mate, whose shot is deflected wide.
APOEL are having to defend in numbers here, and the back four are performing impressively against this barrage of pressure.
Manduca is penalised for a foul on Anyukov, who milks the challenge and limps off before emerging swiftly afterwards.
Danny and Aleksandr Bukharov are seeing a lot of the ball in these early stages, but Shirokov looks the most creative threat from deep.
Bukharov is ruled offside as he makes a premature run in behind Jorge to receive a through ball from Shirokov.
With Aleksandr Bukharov up front, Zenit have plenty of options - they can comfortably play direct football, but the presence of Danny also means they can play a short, neat possession game too.
Danny looks in a spot of bother as he limps off to the touchline walking very gingerly after a challenge with Oliveira.
Pardo makes a fine save as Fayzulin tries his luck from range, and Zenit are back on the front foot.
It is certainly an impressive home run for Zenit at the moment - nine matches victorious.
Denisov misses the target with a wild shot from range, and it is all Zenit in these early minutes.
Both sides just feeling each other out here, but it is the hosts, as expected, that have seen more of the ball early on.
Zenit keep the ball patiently in their own half as APOEL continue to make a pretty sluggish start to this match.
What a chance for Bukharov, who rises high to meet Fayzulin's corner with a powerful header, and the ball drifts agonisingly wide of the near post!
Solomou battles fiercely with Shirokov on halfway as both sides look to make an early impact.
We're underway in St Petersburg!
The playrs are walking out on to the pitch now. It's a parky two degrees celsius in St Petersburg. Can APOEL cope with the sharp change in climate? We're about to find out...
A quick fact-blast for you: Zenit have won each of their last nine European home games (excl. qualifiers)... Their last home defeat in European competitions came against Real Madrid in the 2008/09 Champions League (1-2).... APOEL are unbeaten after four games in this CL group stage, in light of two wins and two draws.... APOEL have conceded at least one goal in each of their last nine CL games.
Tonight's referee in St Petersburg is Felix Brych. The Munich official, a lawyer in the real world who specialises in sports law, sent off Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic against Otelul Galati in he last round of Champions League fixtures. The last two games he has officiated in the Bundesliga have both ended 5-0 to the home side. How Zenit would love to make it a hat-trick tonight.
As for APOEL manager Ivan Jovanovic, he insists his team are not just in town to park the bus: “We’re showing that we’re truly determined to get the result we want. We’re not a team that entered the group stage to play defensively and to only wait for what the opponent it going to do.”
Zenit boss Luciano Spalletti has seen enough of APOEL : ""I think APOEL will play the same way they played away with Porto and Shakhtar. Statistically, APOEL made fewer shots on goal than any other team in the group, but they have scored in each game. We must stay concentrated through the entire match to prevent them from scoring.''
When these two sides met in Cyprus on Matchday One, Ailton scored the winner as APOEL came from behind to beat Zenit 2-1 and kick off their impressive unbeatengruop campaign.
A win for this season's surprise package APOEL would confirm their place in the last 16 draw at group winners. Likewise, a win for Zenit would see them safely through. If the Russians are defeated and Porto win their game away to Shakhtar, it will set up a mouth-watering play-off between the two at the Estadio do Dragao in a fortnight's time.
APOEL are relieved to see their top striker, Ailton Almeida, has been passed fit for the trip to Russia. The Brazilian has scored three of his team's six goals in four group matches, while his compatriot defender William Boaventura is out injured.
Zenit striker Alexander Kerzhakov, the team's leading scorer in the Russian league this season, is sidelined with an ankle sprain, but influential Portugal winger Danny have recovered from a knee injury to start.
Zenit: Malafeev, Anyukov, Criscito, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Shirokov, Zyryanov, Fayzulin, Denisov, Bukharov, Danny. Subs: Zhevnov, Alves, Lukovic, Rosina, Semak, Bystrov, Lazovic /// APOEL: Pardo, Paolo Jorge, Oliveira, Nuno Morais, Charalambides, Manduca, Helio Pinto, Alexandrou, Solomou, Ailton, Trickovski. Subs: Chiotis, Kaka, Jahic, Ilia, Belaid, Adorno, Marcinho.
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