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City news, 13.12.2013 18:48
Zenit advance in spite of defeat in Vienna
A goal in each half from Philipp Hosiner helped FK Austria Wien register their maiden UEFA Champions League group stage victory as FC Zenit became the first club to qualify for the knockout stage with only six points.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov had opened the scoring for the visitors – who won just one game in finishing a point above third-placed FC Porto and bottom-ranked Austria in Group G – ten minutes before half-time. Hosiner levelled before the break and made it 3-1 early in the second period, swiftly building on Tom Jun's close-range finish. Substitute Roman Kienast capped things off in added time.
Luciano Spalletti's Zenit had started brightly. Hulk had the first shot but sliced wide, before Hosiner spurned the hosts' first chance when, following lovely interplay with Manuel Ortlechner, he could only sidefoot the ball against Zenit goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin.
Zenit were on top, though, and Heinz Lindner needed to make a fine fingertip save to deny Domenico Criscito from distance. Zenit right-back Cristian Ansaldi was then involved at both ends, volleying fiercely against Lindner from 15 metres and inadvertently flicking a long Austria free-kick to Kaja Rogulj, who headed tamely at Lodygin.
The deadlock was broken in emphatic fashion when Hulk turned provider, slipping the ball through for Kerzhakov to run on and round the keeper. However, Nenad Bjelica's men hit back before the half was up and again it was Hosiner at the heart of some excellent play as he played a slick exchange of passes with Marko Stankovic and shot across Lodygin into the far corner of the net.
From looking comfortable, Zenit were now on the back foot and their malaise continued after the restart when a centre from surging left-back Markus Suttner was tapped in by Jun. The capital side were in full flow for the first time this campaign and they stretched their lead when Hosiner tapped in a rebound after Lodygin had parried Florian Mader's long-range strike.
Konstantin Zyryanov and Axel Witsel both had opportunities before Kerzhakov's close-range volley flew wildly over the crossbar. Kienast provided the perfect finish to Hosiner's right-wing delivery late on, but Zenit had good reason not to be too downcast because Porto's 2-0 loss at Club Atltico de Madrid ensured their progress to the knockout stage with a record low points total.
News source: uefa