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City news
Hulk double puts Zenit in the group stage
08.27.2014 16:33

Hulk double puts Zenit in the group stage

FC Zenit 3-0 R. Standard de Lige (agg: 4-0)
The hosts confirmed their place in the group stage after Hulk's double helped comfortably see off the Belgian champions

• FC Zenit advance into group stage for fourth successive season
• Jos Rondn stretches hosts' aggregate lead with opener on 30 minutes
• Viktor Fayzulin's first-half red card gives R. Standard de Lige hope of comeback
• Four minutes separate Hulk's second-half pair as home side seal progress
• Andr Villas-Boas's team among 32 clubs in Thursday's draw

Zenit cruised into the UEFA Champions League group stage as Hulk's clinical double in a 3-0 victory helped complete a comfortable two-legged play-off success against Standard Lige.
With a 1-0 win to their name after last week's first leg, the hosts came out keen to finish off the tie and immediately forced the Belgian champions onto the back foot. Danny was muscled out of it by four defenders after a neat one-two with Rondn had slipped the home captain into the area, before the Portugal midfielder drove over from outside the box.
Danny continued to be the centre of attention as his shot from the penalty spot was blocked before Fayzulin went close with a curling effort which slipped the wrong side of the post. Standard battled gamely but found it tough going on Russian soil, Jeff Louis's deflected drive the closest home keeper Yuri Lodygin came to making a save in the first period.
The breakthrough that had been coming arrived on the half-hour. Domenico Criscito was worked into space on the left and the left-back's cross was too high for Eiji Kawashima to claim – the goalkeeper's fingertips helping the ball onto the head of Rondn who made no mistake from close in. That seemed to be the tie done, but Fayzulin's second yellow a minute before the interval gave the visitors hope.
Louis tested Lodygin with a wicked low effort after the restart as Guy Luzon's men looked to make their superior numbers count, yet thoughts of a comeback were ended when Jelle Van Damme tripped Igor Smolnikov in the area and Hulk made the resulting penalty look simple on 54 minutes.
Despite being a man down Zenit continued to hold the upper hand, Kawashima denying Oleg Shatov before Hulk pounced on a loose pass on the halfway line, surged past three defenders and slotted in the corner to wrap up the tie. Standard lost Ricardo Faty to a late red card but at least have the consolation of a place in the UEFA Europa Leaue group stage, while Zenit head into Thursday's draw.

News source: UEFA.com 1998-2014
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