Live Commentary: Zenit St. Petersburg 2-3 AC Milan - as it happened

Massimiliano Allegri
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of Group C's Champions League clash between Zenit St. Petersburg and AC Milan in the Stadion Petrovski.

Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live text commentary of Group C's Champions League battle between Zenit St. Petersburg and AC Milan.

The opponents come together following a tough start to their respective campaigns as both sides failed to pick up maximum points on their matchday openers.

Zenit succumbed to a 3-0 defeat away to Malaga, while the Serie A outfit were unable to find the breakthrough in a goalless draw against Anderlecht.

Meanwhile, Malaga travel to Brussels to go head to head with Anderlecht later on this evening to make up the Group C fixtures.


19.00Well, the Champions League has definitely not disappointed this week and there's much more to come tonight so make sure you stick with us on Sports Mole for the rest of the action! That's it from me. Enjoy!

18.57So, what does that do to Group C then? Anderlecht and Malaga are due to play later tonight but as it stands Milan sit at the top with four points, Malaga reside in second, Anderlecht in third and Zenit remain at the bottom with zero points.

18.55Milan were not completely undeserving of their victory following a strong 20 minutes in the first half and they were able to defend well to maintain their late lead in the second half. You would have to argue that keeper Abbiati was the saviour for the Serie A side this evening.

18.54Despite losing, there were some positive signs for Zenit, especially in the first half. Hulk looked impressive at times but the Brazilian is yet to live up to his price tag, if you ask me, as he was too inconsistent over the 90 minutes.

18.52So, there we have it! AC Milan have ended Zenit's unbeaten home run in the Champions League, somewhat unfairly you may argue. The home side allowed the Italians to get back into the game in the second half and Hubocan will be ruing that own goal.

94 minsFULL-TIME: Zenit St. Petersburg 2-3 AC Milan

93 minsEl Shaaraway tries a shot at the other end but the Milan player doesn't get enough lift on the ball to swerve it into the net.

91 minsZenit are still trying to probe Milan's defensive line but the away side are holding tight. The Russian outfit have been reduced to committing some wayward shots on goal in the hope of finding the equaliser.

90 minsThe fourth official indicates four minutes of added time.

88 minsSubstitution: Zenit finish up their subs by taking Lombaerts off and bringing Bukharov on for these closing stages.

87 minsHulk goes for goal after a slip from El Shaaraway but the Brazilian aims his shot well wide from the posts.

86 minsThree minutes of normal time remains and Zenit launch another attack through Cistico from the left-hand side but Milan are defending in numbers of these closing stages.

84 minsYellow card! A dangerous sweeping tackle from Yepes brings Hulk to the floor and the Milan star gets a caution but it could easily have been a sending off.

82 minsCHANCE! If Abbiati wasn't on top form this evening, Kanunnikov would have been celebrating an equaliser after his powerful shot was somehow pushed out by the Milan keeper.

80 minsA left-footed free kick from Hulk slams into the two-man wall but Abate clears after a brief attack from the home side to relinquish another corner.

79 minsSubstitution: Zenit's Fayzulin leaves the field for Kanunnikov, while Milan welcome Yepes to the pitch at the expense of Boateng.

78 minsDespite going behind once again, Zenit are continuing to push for another equaliser. They have 12 minutes or so to try and turn the scoreline around again.

76 minsA cruel blow for the home side and Hubocan, who knocks the ball into his own net trying to prevent Pazzini from finding the ball. Pazzini celebrates but it's clear that the Milan player doesn't get a touch.

75 minsGOAL! Zenit 2-3 Milan (Hubocan OG)

73 minsAnyukov needs treatment after being brought down from behind by Boateng but the Zenit player seems to be alright as he gets to his feet.

72 minsHulk tries some trickery on the edge of the Milan area but a cross into the box fails to find any blue shirts. Three points are still up for grabs!

71 minsSubstitution: Zenit bring on Zyryanov for Bystrov.

70 minsYellow card! A sliding challenge from Hubocan on Pazzini gets the Zenit player a yellow card. A deserved one, you must say. Looked quite dangerous from this angle!

68 minsBoateng overruns the ball as he tries to launch an attack from the left-hand side but Milan are looking slightly more purposeful in this second half.

67 minsPazzini gets a free kick for Milan after being brought down by (scary mask-wearer number 1) Lombaerts but the away side fail to make the most of it.

66 minsA good spell for the Italians since the substitutions as they try to get through Zenit's defence but they are continuing to struggle to find a genuine threat in the final third.

64 minsSubstitution: A double substitution for Milan sees Bojan and goalscorer Emanuelson make way for Pazzini and Nocerino.

62 minsSome nervy defending from Milan as Witsel tries to thread a ball into the box from the wide areas but it eventually gets cleared.

61 minsThe away side now have the ball and are trying to enforce a move through De Jong and Boateng but nothing comes to pass and Zenit take the ball back once again.

61 minsAnother corner for Zenit but it was a poor one from Hulk, who slams his cross right into a Milan defender.

60 minsRight, we're good to go and Abbiati sets up an attack from the back for Milan but Zenit snatch the ball almost instantly.

58 minsWe have a slight break in play as officials try to sort out Milan's net. It seems to have unwrapped itself from the posts.

58 minsCorrection: Both Criscito and Lombaerts are wearing scary masks! I didn't think I was seeing double...

57 minsA rare spell of possession for Milan ends with a cross from Boateng but his pass fails to find any red and black shirts in the box.

55 minsWitsel tries a shot on goal following some probing by the home side but he just catches the top of the ball, which doesn't enable him to get enough power on the shot, which is easily cleared by the keeper.

54 minsMilan have to find something special here and try and get a foothold on the game again because Zenit are so far in control.

51 minsA penalty shout goes unanswered from the referee by Hulk, who was shoved in the box. Looking at the replay, you would say that the Brazilian has a point!

50 minsZenit have definitely started as they finished the first half. Hulk takes another corner short and tries to find space to get the shot in but he's closed down in time to stop the threat.

48 minsA corner from Hulk finds Shirokov, who has plenty of space in the middle of the penalty area, who just has to hammer it down into the back of the net with his head. Game on!

48 minsGOAL! Zenit 2-2 Milan (Shirokov)

46 minsWe've just had the first attack of the game. It was a misdirected shot from Shirokov but it was taken too far out to cause any trouble for the Milan keeper.

45 minsIt's worth noting that there have been no changes at the break from either side.

45 minsI hope you're all ready for the second half! Milan have got us underway in Russia...

17.57It should be an interesting second half coming up! Zenit are on the front-foot and will be determined to keep extend their 16-match unbeaten run but I'm sure that Allegri will be asking for more from his players to maintain their lead.

17.53Although if you want a more comprehensive overview of the opening 45 minutes, then why not have a gander at my colleague Matt Law's half-time report here.

17.52While Milan looked assured in the opening stages after nabbing two goals in the first 20 minutes, Zenit slowly began to creep into the game with the help of Hulk, who secured the goal the Russian fans desperately wanted.

17.51So, what did we make of that? I think it would be difficult to argue that the home side didn't deserve a goal out of that first half.

47 minsHALF TIME: Zenit 1-2 Milan

46 minsIt was coming! And it's the controversial striker who gets the breakthrough for the home side. The Brazilian picks up a perfectly weighted ball after timing his run into the box from the left-hand side and launches the ball past Abbiati with power and precision to get on the scoresheet before half time.

46 minsGOAL! Zenit 1-2 Milan (Hulk)

45 minsTwo minutes of time have been added to the first half.

43 minsWell, that was completely wasted by Emanuelson. The Milan star took an ambitious shot from the free kick, which goes nowhere near the goal and Allegri is furious!

42 minsSome rare possession from Milan ends in what appears to be a knock on Bojan's ankle but the loan forward seems to be shaking it off as Milan prepare for a free kick.

41 minsIt's all Zenit at the moment! Milan have been unable to form any sort of attack and Abbiati is the only one keeping them in this game at the moment.

39 minsSAVE! A fantastic save from Abbiati keeps his side in the lead after a powerful shot from Hulk, who took a huge run up to get the ferocity on the ball from a free kick.

38 minsOooh a free kick has been given to Zenit just outside of the penalty area after El Shaarawy pulled down Fayzulin.

38 minsThe home side fail to make the most of it as Abbiati comfortably grabs the ball from the corner shot.

37 minsAnother Zenit corner. Milan are under pressure a bit here...

36 minsAnyukov and Fayzulin for Zenit are the other two players that have fell victim to a caution.

35 minsZenit have been pressing much more and Hulk looks especially like he's found his rhythm. Meanwhile, the referee has handed out his third yellow card of the match so far and Milan's Bonera is on the end of it after bringing down Hulk.

33 minsDOUBLE SAVE! Abbiati has had some work to do within a minute! A shot from Hulk, which was swerving into the top of the left-hand side of the goal is pushed out by the Milan keeper but straight from the corner a low header forces Abbiati to drop down and just grab the ball inches in front of the line. Phew!

31 minsSAVE! Bystrov wastes a chance but minutes later Hulk drifts a superb cross into the box, which drives past De Jong and comes off a Milan defender, which forces Abbiati into a save.

30 minsCorrection: Lombaerts is wearing the scary mask. Criscito's face seems to be intact...

28 minsAnd he's on the floor again! Hulk isn't really living up to his name at the moment since he's fallen to the ground about three times within the last 10 minutes. The striker makes out that he's been hit in the face but replays show no such foul.

27 minsSome swift passage of play results in Hulk being brought down, which prompts a protest from the striker, who doesn't seem too happy with the German referee.

26 minsHulk, who has been relatively quiet, gets his first shot on goal following a drive from midfield but he's muscled out the way by three Milan defenders, which forces the former Porto forward to shoot well wide.

24 minsZenit have picked up the pace a bit as they receive a corner from a shot that needed to be headed out by Montilivo but the set piece comes to nothing.

22 minsCHANCE! Kerzhakov has a shot on goal from the near post after some impressive two-touch play but the forward is unable to beat the keeper and get his side on the scoresheet.

20 minsActually, having just seen the replay, it looks as though Hubocan did catch his foot when he dived in for the tackle. The defender was quite lucky there.

19 minsOnce again, Zenit lose the ball in the middle of the park to Bojan who storms down the right of the field to set up a shot but he's fairly tackled in the box.

17 minsZenit are trying to regain some composure but they seem to be losing their midfield battles easily.

16 minsA great start for the away side! 19-year-old El Shaarawy snatches the ball in Zenit's half and drives past two players to get his shot in and find the back of the net.

16 minsGOAL! Zenit 0-2 Milan (El Shaarawy)

15 minsMinutes later, Emanuelson has the chance to double the scoreline for his side and nab his second goal but his shot is wide off the mark.

12 minsWell, not a shabby start for Milan then! The Italians earn a free kick just outside the box and the shot from Emanuelson took a huge deflection to dink into the back of the net, but I'm pretty sure the Milan player will take it as his own!

12 minsGOAL! Zenit 0-1 Milan (Emanuelson)

11 minsThe home side are enjoying more possession now and Witsel tries to thread the ball through but it is snatched by an opposing player to set up a counter.

9 minsAnyway, back to matters at hand! Zenit have an ambitious shot on goal through Bystrov, who grabs the ball on the half-volley but his strike doesn't trouble the keeper.

9 minsCriscito is sporting a mask that you might associate with a horror film. The player's broken his nose, hence the creepy mask...

7 minsThe Italians earn a corner after pressure from outside the box but it comes to nothing. Milan have started the more dominate side so far, mind you.

7 minsZenit are trying to sift balls through midfield but Milan are so far dealing with it. Hulk has been isolated in these first few minutes. We're yet to see much of him!

4 minsSAVE! Despite an attacking threat from Zenit, Milan respond instantly through Bojan, who turns cleanly in the box to force a save from Malafeev.

3 minsZenit snatch the ball through Fayzulin and Kerzhakov gets brought down to earn his side a free kick but it comes to nothing.

2 minsThe first attack comes from Milan as a pull-back to Boateng in the box gives the player a shot on goal but he fails to control it and it sky-rockets.

2 minsAn assured start from both sides in Russia in these early stages. While neither are yet to form an attack, both sides are pressing and looking to get forward when they have the ball.

1 minHere we go then! Zenit get us underway...

16.57Right, the teams are lined up and the Champions League music is playing. Not long to go now!

16.55Allegri is under no illusions that this match will be easy for either side. Here's what the Milan boss had to say ahead of today's game: "This will be an important contest because it is between the two group favourites, neither of whom played to their potential in the first round of games."

16.50There are around 10 minutes or so until kick-off at the Stadion Petrovski. How do you see it going?? Most are tipping Zenit to extend their European home record to 17 unbeaten matches. We shall soon find out!

16.48If that's not enough we also have these tasty ties - Anderlecht vs Malaga, Dynamo Kiev vs. Dinamo Zagreb and Schalke vs. Montpellier

16.46Paris Saint-Germain have travelled to Portugal to play Porto, while Real Madrid go head to head with Ajax in Holland.

16.46Paris Saint-Germain have travelled to Portugal to play Porto, while Real Madrid go head to head with Ajax in Holland.

16.44Let me just remind you what else we've got coming up this evening. The Premier League champions take on the Bundesliga title holders in a mouth-watering tie between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. The only other English contingent is Arsenal, who go up against Olympiakos.

16.39Interestingly, the two teams have never come up against each other in the Champions League before so neither side will want to record a defeat tonight.

16.36History is not on Milan's side in terms of away trips in European competitions. The former Serie A champions last won an away game in November 2010 against AJ Auxerre, which ended 2-0 for the Italians.

16.34Zenit have also won 10 and drawn one of their 11 European matches under the Italian boss. The Russian outfit will be hoping for 11 out of 12 this evening!

16.32Milan fans will probably not be keen on seeing Spalletti on the touchline as the Italian side do not have the best record against the 53-year-old. Milan were relatively unsuccessful in their bouts with Roma during Spalletti's tenure in charge.

16.30We have just under 30 minutes until kick-off in Russia. Would you like to read a bit of background between the two sides? Of course you would!

16.26Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini was a doubt for the meeting due to a muscle injury but Allegri has deemed the playmaker fit enough to occupy the bench in the Stadion Petrovski.

16.24There's a familiar face from the Premier League in Milan's starting lineup - Nigel de Jong, who moved to the San Siro from Manchester City in the summer has been chosen to line the midfield, while Bojan, who is on loan from Roma gets the nod up front.

16.24Alexander Kerzhakov does start as expected but there is no place for Igor Denisov in the squad for tonight's match for Zenit.

16.21Let's mull over these teams selections then shall we! Zenit fans will be pleased (depending on which players they side with) to see that Witsel is fit to start the clash. He was a slight doubt due to an injury but the midfielder does start behind striker Hulk.

16.19Subs: Amelia, Mexes, Yepes, Nocerino, Flamini, Robinho, Pazzin

16.18Massimiliano Allegri's starting XI is as follow. AC Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Zapata, Antonini; De Jong, Montolivo, Emanuelson, Boateng; El Shaarawy, Bojan

16.16Subs: Baburin, Bruno Alves, Lukovic, Lumb, Zyryanov, Bukharov, Kanunniko

16.14Luciano Spalletti has picked his first XI as follows. Zenit: Malafeev; Anyukov, Criscito, Lombaerts, Hubocan; Shirokov, Fayzulin, Witsel, Bystrov; Kerzhakov, Hulk

16.13Enough of my ramblings for now, we have some team news to bring you! Hold tight...

16.10Despite their mini crisis, Zenit do boast a successful home record in this elite European competition given that they have not been beaten on home turf in 16 Champions League matches.

16.08There were even reports last month claiming that Russian police had found a fake bomb with Hulk's face on it outside the club's training ground! The Brazilian's move to Zenit was quite a surprise considering that rumours (as well as the player himself!) were linking the forward to Champions League holders Chelsea.

16.06As I'm sure you're all aware, Russian outfit Zenit have been marred by off-field problems recently. If you don't know, however, reports have claimed that members of the squad are unhappy about the amount of wages being paid to summer acquisitions Hulk and Axel Witsel. Awkward...

16.05It's an interesting one this afternoon! Seven-time winners Milan head into the clash on the back of a disappointing goalless draw with Anderlecht, while Zenit are yet to pick up a point after getting slammed 3-0 by Malaga.

16.00Hello all! Here we are again for this week's second night of Champions League action. I will be focusing on all things Group C with today's early kick-off between Zenit St. Petersburg and AC Milan.


Christian Abbiati
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Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg vs. AC Milan
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