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Aachen 2 Zenit St. Petersburg 2
12.03.2004 15:09

Aachen 2 Zenit St. Petersburg 2 The German second division side now must beat AEK Athens in Greece on 15 December to book their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup after the thrilling draw in their adopted European home of Cologne's RheinEnergie Stadium.

Eric Meijer put Aachen ahead after 25 minutes but the guests hit back with a penalty from Vladimir Radimov (38) and an Olexander Gorschkov header (76).

But there was drama late on as Blank equalised from the spot in the 89th minute before Sergio Pinto was sent off for a second yellow card in stoppage time.

The result means Aachen have their UEFA Cup future in their own hands as they can leapfrog St. Petersburg with a win against AEK Athens in Greece in a fortnight.

Aachen made a bright start as they looked to add St. Petersburg to their list of big name scalps following the 1-0 win over Lille in the first group game.

Former Liverpool striker Meijer was the main target for Aachen's attacks and it was only a matter of time before the veteran forward converted one of his many early chances.

Pinto's lofted pass was taken down by Meijer, who steadied himself before firing into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

Cristian Fiel tested Russia's number one goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev again shortly afterwards as the hosts pushed for a second.

The visitors then carved a way back into the game when Moses Sichone sliced down Alexander Kerzhakov inside the area for a clear penalty.

Radimov stepped up to send Stephan Straub the wrong way and bring Zenit deservedly level.

Aachen kept up the pressure early in the second half and hit the woodwork with Stefan Blank's header crashing against the right-hand post with Malafeev beaten.

But Olexander Gorschkov silenced the home fans by heading the visitors in front with 15 minutes remaining.

As Aachen pushed forward looking for the equaliser, they left huge gaps behind them that Kerzhakov exploited on two occasions before being stopped by Straub.

But the late pressure paid off as Aachen earned a penalty when Chris Iwelumo was pushed inside the area by Jan Flachbart.

Blank stepped up to put the spot-kick away comfortably into the bottom right-hand corner.

Pinto received his marching orders for a cynical foul in the second minute of stoppage time but Aachen clung on for the point.

News source: www.sportinglife.com
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