Zenit St. Petersburg Vs. Porto, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Zenit Earn 3-1 Win Over 10-Man Porto

Porto haven't been particularly impressive of late, but they slipped to new lows in Russia as they were absolutely rolled over by Zenit St. Petersburg. Granted, a lot of that was to do with losing right back Jorge Fucile to a second yellow card in the first half - the Europa League champions were utterly useless with ten men - but their defence was unconvincing throughout and they threw away an early lead despite having a full complement of players, so they probably can't use the red card as an excuse.

They were, however, very dangerous on the attack. Hulk didn't have his best game, but was still excellent, creating the opening goal by drifting wide of the defence and sending in a low cross for James Rodriguez to tap in at the far post. That would be the high point of the evening for the Portuguese. Within ten minutes Zenit, hitherto unthreatening, had broken down the right side and sent in a cross that Helton spilled straight into the path of Roman Shirkov for an easy equaliser.

Worse was to come when Fucile, who had not been impressive in the least either attacking or defending, was sent off by Howard Webb for deliberate handball right at the end of the half, forcing Porto to rejuggle their team as they tried to reestablish superiority.

It didn't work, and Zenit were all over the visitors for the entirety of the second half. Danny and Alexander Kerzhakov were particularly dangerous - the latter contrived to create several chances by himself but failed to find the net for reasons including pad aim, the post, and a terrible decision by the linesman. Ruling out Kerzhakov's strike in the 60th minute would not prove to be too costly a mistake, however, because five minutes later Shirokov had put the hosts in front with his second goal, which saw him brilliantly take down a free kick and half-volley the ball past a helpless Helton at his near post.

Danny got his name on the scoresheet a few minutes later, and despite a couple of free kicks from Hulk that were very close to finding the net, Porto never looked like seriously threatening Zenit's lead, one that probably desreved to be larger than the 3-1 final score. Group G just got very interesting - assuming APOEL Nicosia lose to Shakhtar Donetsk, every team will be on three points after two games.

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