Zenit St. Petersburg 1-0 Udinese: Bianconeri Scraping their Way to Quarter-Finals (UEFA Cup Round of 16, 2nd Leg)

Players of Udinese react after UEFA Cup Round of 16 second leg soccer match against Zenit at the Petrovsky stadium in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, March 19, 2009. Udinese lost 0-1 but gets to the next round. (AP Photo)

Through to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals, for the first time ever. Thursday’s 1-0 loss in St. Petersburg was a “happy” loss for Udinese, as Pasquale Marino’s boys achieved a club milestone by beating current champions FC Zenit 2-1 on aggregate, and qualifying for the last 8 of Europe’s “lesser” competition.

If one wanted to push a “schoolyard logic” here, we could say that Zenit beat Man Utd (Super Cup), Udinese beat Zenit, and that therefore Udinese > Man Utd. Ah to be 8 years old again… The Italian 2008-09 adventure in Europe is not looking so grim after all.

UEFA Cup 2008-09 - Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Udinese

UEFA Cup 2008-09 - Round of 16, Second Leg - Zenit St. Petersburg 1-0 Udinese

The first half was very difficult: struggling with the mobility of quality offensive players like Fayzulin and Danny, Zenit made it very hard for the Udinese defence (whose sole purpose seemed to be to marl a static Pogrebnyak) to get their bearings. This was especially frustrating due to the comfortable start for Marino’s team, rapidly substituted with an increasing Russian domination and pressure as the minutes went by. After a very close shave (handarmball by D’Agostino inside the box, penalty not given), the home team took the lead at the half-hour mark.

The goal came from a header by captain Anatoliy Tymoschuk, who this evening was playing as a central defender due to the injuries decimating Advocaat’s rearguard (seemed to be a trend for the night: Galatasaray’s Harry Kewell was also playing central defender). The Ukrainian international connected his header from a corner, Handanovic swatted the ball away but according to the linesman, after the ball had crossed the line. Video replays confirmed. 1-0 Zenit.

Now Udinese were in trouble. They were still capable of creating some counter-attacking danger (as exemplified by Quagliarella’s narrowly wide header), the Bianconeri’s defence was very shaky. By the end of the half Zenit could have scored at least another two goals (through Fayzulin and Danny), and it was only through sheer luck (or offensive incompetence) that the Petrovskij Stadium saw their team leading only 1-0 at the break .


Udinese were more convincing in the second half, despite the right thigh strain injury that took Lukovic out of the match (in came Isla, with Zapata moving back into the centre). Zenit continued to push forward, but they were less incisive; they fought for and won possession, but their plays were less fluent: maybe it was because of the heavy pitch, or maybe because Udinese were now less timid and tactically smarter.

So much so that Marino’s boys came not once, but twice close to scoring the equaliser, again through some good efforts by Fabio Quagliarella (volleyed effort and close-range header). Malafeev was ready and neutralized the Neapolitan striker’s attempts with style, but it didn’t matter to Udinese in the end. The Bianconeri held the fort to the full time whistle, ending the match ahead on aggregate and qualifying for the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Some Italian pride in Europe, with the hope (and serious possibility) of going all the way to the Istanbul final.

Added note: If you’re curious as to who Udinese are going to get in the Quarter-finals, tune in to Soccerlens later at 13:00 CET. I’ll be liveblogging the Champions League and UEFA Cup draw.



 FC Zenit St. Petersburg
1-0 (1-2 agg.)
[Match Highlights]
 Udinese Calcio
GOALSCORERS: 34’ Tymoschuk (Z).
ZENIT (4-2-3-1:) Malafeev – Semshov, Krizanac, Tymoschuk, Kim – Denisov, Sirl (71’ Huszti) – Danny, Zyryanov, Fayzulin (71’ Tekke) – Pogrebnyak. (bench: Contofalsky, Ionov). Coach: Advocaat.
UDINESE (4-3-3): Handanovic – Lukovic (58’ Isla), Zapata, Felipe, Pasquale – Inler, D’Agostino, G.Asamoah – Pepe, Quagliarella, Di Natale (91’ Obodo). (bench: Koprivec, Sala, Zimling, Floro Flores, Sanchez). Coach: Mezzini (Marino suspended).


Tags: , , , , ,


Posted in UEFA Cup, Udinese |

Related Posts:

  • Udinese 2-0 Zenit St. Petersburg: All Hail the Pride of Italy… (UEFA Cup Round of 16, 1st Leg)
  • UEFA Cup Quarter-Finals Draw (2008-09): Udinese Get Werder Bremen
  • UEFA Cup Quarter-Finals Draw (2007-08): Fiorentina Get…
  • Udinese 2-1 Lech Poznań: Bianconeri Hanging Tight, Keep Italy’s Presence Alive (UEFA Cup Round of 32, 2nd Leg)
  • European Cups DRAW – UEFA Champions League & UEFA Cup Quarter-Finals to be Drawn on Friday
  • Comments are closed.