Apoel fight back for opening win

Gustavo Manduca scored one and created the 75th-minute winner for
Ailton as the hosts recovered from conceding to Konstatin Zyryanov
against the run of play. Zenit were dealt another setback when
Bruno Alves was sent off for a second yellow card with 14 minutes
to go, but they piled on late pressure and might have snatched a
point had Viktor Fayzulin’s shot gone in rather than hit the bar.
The hosts were the first to threaten when Zenit goalkeeper
Vyacheslav Malafeev was forced to punch clear Marcinho’s cross.
Malafeev then parried Ailton’s shot from 12 yards as another of
Apoel’s Brazilian contingent tried his luck. The Russian stopper
was keeping his side on level terms and denied Ivan Trickovski
minutes later. Zenit finally got going, though, and Nicolas
Lombaerts headed Roman Shirokov’s left-wing cross wide at the far
post. But that was a rare moment of adventure for the visitors and
Trickovski drilled an effort wide from the edge of the area at the
other end. The Cypriots continued to dominate after the break and
the lively Trickovski had another shot parried by the over-worked
Malafeev. Marcinho then fired over the top from long range before
Ailton headed over from a Trickovski ball in. But Zenit went in
front completely against the run of play in the 63rd minute. Danny
played the ball in from the right and Zyryanov guided a low finish
into the bottom right corner. Suddenly Zenit were the side making
all the running, Alexander Kerzhakov twice mis-hitting shots wide
in quick succession and Danny having an effort blocked by defender
Paulo Jorge. But within the space of three minutes Apoel had turned
the game on its head. Manduca volleyed home a 73rd-minute equaliser
from the left of the area before setting up Ailton to curl a second
low inside the far post from 18 yards. And things went from bad to
worse for Zenit a minute later when Alves fouled Ailton and was
shown a second yellow card. The Russians poured forward in search
of an equaliser in the closing stages with Danny seeing a shot
saved by Dionisis Chiotis and Viktor Fayzulin crashing a shot
against the bar. Fayzulin then crossed for Lombaerts who headed
wide as Apoel held on for an important win.