Zenit beat Valencia in 2:0
Zenit St Petersburg secured top spot in Champions League Group H by beating Valencia 2-0 on Tuesday afternoon.
Artem Dzyuba continued his scoring touch with the second goal, his fifth in the group stage. Dzyuba’s 74th-minute goal, scored with a simple finish after a lay-off from Hulk, helped preserve Zenit’s perfect record with a fifth win from five games.
Earlier Oleg Shatov gave Zenit the lead early on when he lifted the ball over theValencia goalkeeper, Jaume Domènech, as the defence pleaded in vain for offside.
Valencia’s Rúben Vezo was shown a red card in the 80th minute for scything down Shatov as the Russian midfielder threatened to add to Zenit’s lead.
The Spanish team created few chances under intense pressure from Zenit in midfield. Santi Mina put the ball in Zenit’s net midway through the second half but it was ruled out in a close offside decision.
“We started very well with very good intensity and it affected them because they couldn’t come out and play their game,” the Zenit coach, André Villas-Boas, said. “Apart from 10 minutes in the second half, we dominated completely.”
Valencia dropped to third in the group after Gent’s 2-1 win at Lyon later on Tuesday and the Belgian side can now put the Spaniards out by beating Zenit at home in the final round of fixtures next month.
Zenit will be aiming to win all six games in a Champions League group for the first time. The only Russian club ever to manage it were Spartak Moscow in the 1995-96 season.
Zenit’s Axel Witsel, a Belgian, will not be able to play in his home country after he earned a one-game suspension with his third yellow card of the competition for a lunge on Danilo.