Zenit St. Petersburg will need some help over the next two matchdays to advance to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, but they're in with a small chance to get by FC Porto. Thibaut Courtois tried to help them for a win that would have seen their chances of advancing increase significantly when he committed a terrible howler, but the hosts couldn't take full advantage and ended up drawing, 1-1.
The first half only had a couple of decent chances, and neither was terribly impressive. Hulk forced Courtois to palm away a stinging left-footed drive from 20 yards in the 14th minute, but it was always right at the keeper, as vicious as it might have been. Just before the break, Christian Rodriguez forced Juri Lodigin into a save with Atleti's only shot on target of the first half.
Knowing that they needed a win, Zenit came out more aggressive to start the second half, leading to plenty of space opening up behind their defense. It was apparent early on that Atleti would be able to threaten when Rodriguez nearly scored in the 48th minute, squandering a chance with a bad touch at the end of a counter. Six minutes later, Atleti took advantage of all of the space they were being given. Adrian sunk Zenit with a great finish from the edge of the box, off a through ball by Raul Garcia.
Zenit got back into the game in the 74th minute, thanks to a huge gift. Toby Alderwiereld tried to block a cross with his head, but it popped up and headed toward the top corner. It looked like Courtois had straightforward catch to make, but he misjudged the flight of the ball badly and buried his head in his arms after he watched it float over him and into the back of the net.
Fortunately for Courtois, Atleti had already qualified for the knockout stage, having won Group G after the fourth round of play. Zenit couldn't score another and now must hope that FC Porto fail to win one of their next two games.
Zenit: Lodigin, Criscito, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Smolnikov, Witsel, Faizulin (Bystrov 64'), Shirokov (Arshavin 64'), Shatov, Kerzhakov, Hulk
Goals: Alderwiereld (OG 74')
Atletico Madrid: Courtois, Insua, Miranda, Alderweireld, Juanfran, Koke, Gabi, Rodriguez (Oliver 80'), Guilavogui, Adrian, Garcia
Goals: Adrian (53')