Champions League

Malaga beats Zenit St. Petersburg

Recap of Malaga's surprising win of Russian giants Zenit.
Recap of Malaga's surprising win of Russian giants Zenit.
Share This Story



Tuesday, September 18
Home Road  
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Ajax Recap
Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 Dynamo Kiev Recap
AC Milan 0-0 Anderlecht Recap
Malaga 3-0 Zenit Recap
Montpellier 1-2 Arsenal Recap
Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 FC Porto Recap
Olympiacos 1-2 Schalke 04 Recap
Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester City Recap
More: Scores | Stats | Champions League

Francisco ''Isco'' Alarcon scored twice in Malaga's 3-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg on Tuesday, giving the Spanish team a dream Champions League debut after the exit of several star players during a turbulent offseason.

Malaga led 2-0 by the 13th minute after goals by Isco and Javier Saviola. Zenit had various chances but failed to finish them off, and Isco struck again in the 76th minute to seal the victory at La Rosaleda stadium.

Malaga was supposed to struggle this season after a financial about-face by its Qatari owners led to the sale of stars Santi Cazorla and Jose Rondon among other players.

Instead, Malaga is undefeated after seven games to be second in the Spanish league and top of Group C in club football's top European competition after AC Milan and Anderlecht drew 0-0 in the other match.

''We played a well-rounded game, myself and the entire team,'' said the 20-year-old Isco, who joined Malaga from Valencia last season as part of an expensive overhaul of its squad.

Isco gave credit for Malaga's unexpected start to coach Manuel Pellegrini.


Check out the best images from the Champions League's opening group stage matches.

''The coach has always shown his confidence in us and we stuck together as a team. That's the key to this victory,'' Isco said.

Isco set Malaga on its way with an exquisite individual effort in the third minute. The midfielder dribbled the ball into the box and curled a shot around goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev, the ball clipping the inside of the far post before settling in the net.

Hulk, making his first start for Zenit since joining from FC Porto, almost hit right back two minutes later with a long blast that rattled the crossbar.

But the night was all Malaga's, with Saviola doubling the lead in the 13th. The Argentine forward, who just arrived from Benfica, slipped behind Zenit's flatfooted defense to tap in Jesus Gamez's low cross with the ball again going in off the upright.

''Our defense did a splendid job, and we took an important step by winning at home and showing that this team can do good things in the Champions League,'' Saviola said.

With Zenit stunned by Malaga's rollicking start, the hosts were on the verge of turning the match into a rout in the first half with Saviola almost scoring on three more occasions.

Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti didn't wait until halftime to replace defender Aleksandar Lukovic with midfielder Vladimir Bystrov to try and spark his team.


Enjoy your free trial of FOX Soccer Plus and watch your heroes in action.

The visitors responded by claiming the initiative for the first time. Striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov forced a one-handed save from goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who then was in position to pull in Roman Shirokov's header moments later.

Caballero spoiled a seemingly certain goal for Kerzhakov with half-hour to play, tapping away a pass from Bystrov destined for the Russian international in front of an open net.

Isco then secured the win with another brilliant show of skill, lashing an unstoppable strike from outside the area into the top right corner of the net.

Malaga could have won by a wider margin, as Sergio ''Duda'' Barbosa clipped the crossbar with a bouncing header before the final whistle.

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


Alfredo Di Stefano 1926-2014 Posted: Jul 08, 2014
Mario Melchiot reacts to the passing of Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano an...

Recap of Real Madrid's tenth Champions League title Posted: Jul 08, 2014
The FOX Soccer crew breaks down everything from the UEFA Champions League Final ...

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid UEFA Champions League Final Highlights 05/24/14 Posted: May 24, 2014
Relive all of the action between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the 2014 UEF...

Real Madrid lifts Champions League trophy Posted: May 24, 2014
Watch Real Madrid lift the 2014 UEFA Champions League trophy.

Ronaldo goal seals Real Madrid’s Champions League title Posted: May 24, 2014
Check out the Cristiano Ronaldo goal that sealed Real Madrid's 4-1 victory again...

More than Sports on MSN