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Live Commentary: Zenit St Petersburg 1-1 Atletico Madrid - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report of Zenit St Petersburg's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
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Zenit St Petersburg kept their hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League alive on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid.

After a goalless first half the visitors took the lead against the run of play when Adrian Lopez found the net following a quick break.

However, Zenit earned a share of the spoils with around 15 minutes left as Igor Smolnikov's deflected cross looped over the head of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report below to find out how the action unfolded in Russia.


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Hello there and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of tonight's Champions League clash as Zenit St Petersburg play host to Atletico Madrid in Russia.

We should have some team news through for you shortly. You'll be the first to hear about it when it breaks.

So, what's at stake in tonight's match? Atletico have the luxury of knowing that they are already through to the last 16 after winning all four of their games so far in Group G. The Spaniards have been in scintillating form this season and deservedly take their place in the next round.

Meanwhile, Zenit need at least a point if they want to keep their hopes of progressing alive but three points tonight will boost their chances considerably of getting out of Group G. The Russians are currently in second place in the standings, though Porto lurk just a point behind them. The Portuguese side play host to Austria Vienna later.

ATLETICO: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Alderweireld, Insua; Joss, Gabi, Koke, Cristian Rodriguez; Raul Garcia, Adrian

The visitors have made a total of six changes, with Emiliano Insua, Cristian Rodriguez and Adrian among those who come into the starting XI. David Villa and Arda Turan are among those who have been rested.

ZENIT: Lodygin; Criscito, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Smolnikov; Shirokov, Shatov, Fayzulin, Witsel; Hulk, Kerzhakov

Zenit have also mixed it up with regards to their starting lineup as Nicolas Lombaerts, Oleg Shatov and Viktor Fayzulin are all recalled to the side.

Despite Atletico resting a couple of key players, they will be confident of getting a positive result tonight. Diego Simeone's side earned themselves a comfortable 3-1 triumph when the teams met in Spain two months ago.

ZENIT SUBS: Baburin, Neto, Khodzhaniyazov, Zyryanov, Bystrov, Tymoshchuk, Arshavin

ATLETICO SUBS: Aranzubia, Manquillo, Gimenez, Lucas, Torres, Baptistao, Ndoye

Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti talking to UEFA.com: "I would prefer it if Atletico played their full-strength side because the absence of several players from the opposition might affect us. I see a danger in the fact my players might think it's a weakened Atletico team – but this is not the case."



RECENT FORM:

ZENIT: WLDDLL
ATLETICO: WWWWDW


As you can see from the recent form of the two sides, Atletico have been dominant as of late.

The Spaniards have been beaten just once in all competitions this season and currently sit in second place in the La Liga table, three points behind leaders Barcelona.

Zenit suffered their first home defeat of the season on the weekend as they went down 2-0 to Rostov, but they still sit at the top of the Russian Premier League table above Locomotiv Moscow by virtue of the number of wins they have this season.

PREDICTION: Despite Atletico effectively having nothing to play for, the Spaniards are sure to want to maintain their 100% record in the competition this season. Zenit will be hoping to get the win tonight, but a poor run of form in recent weeks would suggest that the visitors will be too strong.



Atletico coach Diego Simeone speaking to UEFA.com: "It does not matter if we have gone through or not. What is important is the game itself, not what is happening around it. The main thing is that on the pitch we show the hunger to win and the desire to play classy football."

The players are out, the pre-match rituals have been done and it will be Zenit to kick us off. For the record, tonight's referee is England's very own Martin Atkinson. Also, it's a chilly minus six degrees in Russia.

It's been a fairly busy start from both sides, though neither has truly threatened so far. Atletico created themselves a half-chance, but Gabi could only smash the ball high and wide. The Zenit fans are in fine voice this evening.

Zenit are starting to assert themselves a bit more in this game now, winning the little battles in midfield. You can tell that they have more to play for as they chase down every ball and look to get forward whenever possible.

Witsel goes to ground after colliding with Miranda, but he looks to be okay. The Atletico defender went to clear the ball and caught the Zenit midfielder on the follow through. You certainly don't want a boot clobbering into you on a cold night like this.

CHANCE! Nearly the opening goal for Zenit as Hulk's free kick from the left causes all sorts of chaos in the Atletico penalty area. However, the Spaniards kept their wits about them and managed to eventually clear the danger.

CHANCE! Close again for Zenit! Hulk unleashes a ferocious drive from long range that Courtois parries away. What a strike that was from the big Brazilian.

Zenit are starting to build up a bit of a head of steam now. They're looking just that bit sharper than Atletico, who are struggling to keep hold of the ball.

CHANCE! Zenit are really knocking on the door now. Smolnikov did well to get into a good position on the right before delivering a low cross right into the heart of the Atletico box. However, he had no one in there looking to put the ball into the back of the net.

Atletico just can't get out of their own half at the moment. The Spaniards have strung a couple of decent moves together during the opening stages, but they're lacking inspiration in midfield and attack.

Hulk has been very dangerous so far. He collects the ball out on the right side before floating a cross in towards Kerzhakov that the striker just can't get on the end of. To Atletico's credit they've defended decently for much of the opening 25 minutes.

Atletico win a corner from nothing, but Koke's delivery is dreadful as Lodygin collects with ease. Just as well because Zenit's defending was a bit all over the place there. Is this a sign of the visitors getting themselves back into the game?

Shatov does well to win a free kick on the left side which Shirokov whips into the box. Lombaerts just about manages to get his head on it, though he can only flick it past the post and behind for a goal kick. A bit of a wasted opportunity for Zenit that.

Ten minutes of normal time left in this first half and it's still goalless between Zenit and Atletico. The hosts have been far and away the better side so far. However, they haven't made their dominance count and that could be troublesome against this Atletico side.

One area where Zenit have disappointed tonight is from set plays. Hulk just wasted a corner and not for the first time. They've had a handful of chances to get decent balls into the box, but not once have they really put a decent delivery in there.

If Zenit's crossing has been poor, then Atletico are sure to be unhappy with the quality of their passing so far. Too often they've given possession away too easily, allowing the hosts to mount more pressure. A bit more composure in that respect and the away side would be having more of a say in this match.

Kerzhakov makes a good run into the penalty area and is picked out by a teammates, but the Zenit striker's first touch is poor and the ball goes out of play. Despite continuing to control the match, the hosts are lacking that little bit of craft in the final third.

CHANCE! Out of nothing, Atletico nearly take the lead. Koke's low effort looked to be heading into the bottom corner before Lodygin got down to palm the ball away from danger.

HALF TIME: ZENIT 0-0 ATLETICO MADRID

Referee Martin Atkinson blows the half-time whistle and it remains goalless between Zenit and Atletico after the opening 45 minutes.

Zenit were the far better side during that first half but they just couldn't breach the Atletico defence. While the hosts looked lively throughout, the visitors really struggled to impose themselves on the match from pretty much the first whistle.

Remember, Zenit ideally need a win tonight if they are to reach the last 16 of the competition. Any kind of slip up this evening and Porto will be ready to pounce when they host Austria Vienna later.

If you're looking for a concise report of that opening half then look no further. Ours is right here.

The players are back out for the second half and it will be Atletico to get us underway. Here we go!

CHANCE! Courtois denies Hulk again! The Zenit striker hit a rasping effort from the edge of the 18-yard box, but the Atletico goalkeeper stood his ground to beat the ball away.

Zenit have started this second half with plenty of intensity while Atletico continue to look stodgy. Koke manages an ambitious attempt at goal for the visitors, only for Lodygin to make an easy save.

GOAL! ZENIT 0-1 ATLETICO (ADRIAN)

That is what you call a sucker punch. Atletico lead and it's Adrian Lopez with the goal. Zenit had three chances at the other end to go in front, but they couldn't take any of them. Instead, the visitors broke quickly before Adrian calmly slotted the ball past Lodygin. Devastating football from the Spaniards.

Zenit are up against it now. They really need to win this in order to maintain a push for the last 16 of the Champions League. That said, they have just over 30 minutes to get something out of this game.

With an almost mechanical consistency the Zenit fans continue to cheer their team on. The players definitely need it - that goal has brought Atletico to life. The Spaniards are now playing with a bit more composure as they look to maintain their 100% record in Group G.

CHANCE! Zenit come close in their search of an equaliser as Hulk picks out Shatov, but the midfielder chooses to cross the ball first time instead of hitting it on the volley. He finds Kerzhakov, with the striker heading over the bar.

SUBSTITUTIONS: A double change for Zenit here as Andriy Arshavin and Vladimir Bystrov come on in place of Viktor Fayzulin and Roman Shirokov.

CHANCE! Zenit were caught on the break again there as Adrian led the charge before squaring the ball to Gabi on the edge of the box. The midfielder shot first time, but his effort was always going high and wide.

Twenty minutes of normal time left in Russia and, rather worrying for Zenit, Atletico look like they're are starting to enjoy themselves a bit more out there. The passing from the visitors is a lot more crisp, while their movement has also improved since they went ahead. A second goal for them and it's surely game over.

GOAL! ZENIT 1-1 ATLETICO (SMOLNIKOV)

What an hilarious goal for Zenit to get level with. Smolnikov's cross took a big deflection on its way towards goal, but Courtois looked as if he thought the ball was going out of play as he just watched it loop into the far corner. Game on!

The momentum has very much swung the way of Zenit since that goal. The hosts are now pushing further up the pitch as they go in search of a winner. However, will that leave them open on the counter-attack?

SUBSTITUTION: Atletico make their first change of the match as youngster Oliver Torres replaces Cristian Rodriguez.

SAVE! Torres almost has an instant impact as he threads a beautiful ball through to Garcia, but Lodygin reacts quickly to save the midfielder's deft flick towards goal.

YELLOW CARD: Garcia now goes into the book for Atletico after bringing down Criscito. Just over five minutes of normal time remaining.

This game could go either way now as the clock ticks towards the 90-minute mark. Both sides are bombing forward whenever they are in possession, while big gaps are starting to emerge in key areas of the pitch. Zenit would love another goal, but to concede again would be catastrophic.

There will be three minutes of added time. Are we going to see a winning goal?

FULL TIME: ZENIT ST PETERSBURG 1-1 ATLETICO MADRID

Martin Atkinson blows the final whistle and it has ended 1-1 between Zenit St Petersburg and Atletico Madrid. Adrian Lopez gave the visitors the lead before Igor Smolnikov's cross somehow found its way past Thibaut Courtois to earn the hosts what could be a valuable point.

Anyway, that's all from me for now but don't forget that we have live commentaries of all tonight's other Champions League games right here on Sports Mole so have a look around and see what takes your fancy. Thank you very much for your company and enjoy the rest of your evening. Goodbye!

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Atletico Madrid's Raul Garcia celebrates with Koke after scoring during the Spanish League football match against Getafe on November 23, 2013
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