Comebacks give Zenit point in Donetsk

BY foxsports • October 19, 2011

Zenit St. Petersburg twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, leaving the host rooted to the bottom of Champions League Group G without a win in three games.

Ukrainian champion Shakhtar, a quarterfinalist last season, took the lead in the 15th minute through a curling shot by Willian. Zenit, which had a penalty saved in the 10th, equalized just after the half-hour through Roman Shirokov.

Shakhtar was ahead again in injury time at the end of the first half, Luiz Adriano turning sharply in the box and firing home. But Zenit secured a point in the 60th minute after a slip by defender Oleksandr Chyzhov gave the ball to Roman Faizulin, who chipped in neatly.

Zenit stays second in the group as FC Porto and leader APOEL drew 1-1 in the other game.

Zenit started brightest, easily picking apart a feeble Shakhtar defense that gifted chances to the Russian champion all night.

Shakhtar's Ukraine international defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy needlessly brought down Viktor Faizulin in the area in the 10th minute, and the referee awarded a penalty. Shirokov took the penalty, but his shot was smartly saved by Oleksandr Rybka in the Shakhtar goal.

The home goalkeeper saved his team again five minutes later, making an outstanding block when Shirokov found Danny free in the center.

Willian then stunned the visitors by cutting in from the left and bending a shot into the net from the edge of the area.

Shakhtar started coming into the game. In the 16th minute, Willian hit the byline and flicked the ball across to Jadson, whose miscued shot trickled inches wide.

Zenit finally converted one of its chances in the 33rd minute when Shirokov chested the ball past Rybka and squeezed the ball in from a tight angle.

Just before the half-time whistle, Adriano brought Razvan Rat's weak shot under control, spinning sharply in the penalty box and firing home.

Shakhtar started the second half on the attack. Douglas Costa beat four defenders in the 49th minute before playing Jadson through, but he shot into the side-netting.

But it was a defensive lapse from Chyzhov that handed Zenit a draw. He slipped when trying to reach a pass, Faizulin sprinted onto the ball and lobbed the stranded Rybka.

After equalizing, the visitors controlled the game but wasted numerous opportunities to score the winner.

''I am not happy with the result,'' Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti said. ''But the team put in an excellent performance and did well to create so many chances.''


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