Champions League: Weakened Zenit too much for Benfica

Matchday 2. Without most of their strike force, Luciano Spalletti's Zenit St. Petersburg was too strong for Portugal's SL Benfica, coming from a goal down to win 3-2 and take a win to Lisbon's Stadium of Light. In the other game, AC Milan thrashed Arsenal FC 4-0 and seems likely to proceed to the last eight.

First Leg Wednesday February 15

AC Milan (ITA) 4 - Arsenal FC (ENG) 0

Boateng (15)

Robinho (38, 49) Ibrahimovic (79, pen.)

This was Arsenal's heaviest ever away defeat in UEFA competitions. The result speaks for itself.

Milan: Abbiati, Mexès, Abate, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Van Bommel, Seedorf, Nocerino, Boateng, Ibrahimović, Robinho SUBS: Amelia, Nesta,, Bonera, Ambrosini, Emanuelson, Pato, El Shaarawy.

Arsenal: Szczęsny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Rosický, Arteta, Ramsey, Song, Van Persie, Walcott SUBS: Fabiański, Djourou, Benayoun, Coquelin, Henry, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin.

FC Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) 3 - SL Benfica (POR) 2

Shirokov (27)                                  Maxi Pereira (20)

Semak (71)                                      Óscar Cardozo (87)

Shirokov (88)

Playmaker Danny, strikers Darko Lazović and Aleksandr Bukharov were missing from Zenit's starting line-up, yet Spalletti's team was too good for a spirited Benfica. Roman Shirokov got two goals for Zenit, the team which pressed more on the night at the Petrovskiy Stadium where the temperature was minus 10 degrees Celsius.

Things will be hotter for Zenit in Lisbon, no doubt.

Zenit: Zhevnov, Anyukov, Bruno Alves, Lombaerts, Hubočan, Shirokov, Zyryanov, Fayzulin, Denisov, Kerzhakov, Kanunnikov SUBS: Borodin, Luković, Cheminava, Rosina, Huszti, Semak, Bystrov.

Benfica: Artur, Emerson, Luisão, Maxi Pereira, Garay, Bruno César, Gaitán, Matić, Witsel, Óscar Cardozo, Rodrigo SUBS: Eduardo, Miguel Vítor, Jardel, Nolito, Aimar, Nélson Oliveira, Saviola.

Second Leg: Tuesday March 6

Tuesday February 14, the first round of the Champions League last 16 got under way with the matches Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) - APOEL FC (CYP) and Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) - FC Barcelona (ESP). The results were, respectively 1-0 and 1-3.

Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 1 - APOEL FC (CYP) 0

Lacazette, 58

One goal to nil, 18 shots to one, 64% of ball possession against 36% shows to what extent Lyon dominated the game.

Lyon: Lloris, Cris, Koné, Réveillère, Cissokho, Källström, Ederson, Bastos, Lacazette, Gonalons, Lisandro. SUBS:Vercoutre, Dabo, Fofana, Umtiti, Gourcuff, Gomis, Briand.

APOEL: Chiotis, Jorge, Kaká, Poursaitides, Morais, Sousa, Boaventura, Charalambides, Pinto, Aílton, Tričkovski. SUBS: Pardo, Satsias, Manduca, Alexandrou, Solomou, Marcinho, Solari.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) 1 - FC Barcelona (ESP) 3

M. Kadlec, 52                                            Alexis Sanchez 41, 55

Messi, 88

The first half belonged to Barcelona, with two shots on target and one goal, while Leverkusen did not manage a single shot on goal. In the second half, the Germans came storming back with 4 shots on target and equalised on 52 minutes. However, Barça managed a further five shots on goal and added a couple more goals. Messi, inevitably, was on the scoreboard.

Leverkusen: Leno, Schwaab, Reinartz, Friedrich, Ćorluka, Kadlec, Castro, Rolfes, Bender, Augusto, Schürrle SUBS: Yelldell, Oczipka, Da Costa, Toprak, Ortega, Bellarabi, Kiessling.

Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Puyol, Abidal, Fàbregas, Iniesta, Mascherano, Busquets, Adriano, Sánchez, Messi SUBS: Pinto, Bartra, Thiago, Dos Santos, Roberto, Pedro, Cuenca.

Second Legs of these games to be played on Wednesday March 7

The Draw

1. Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) - APOEL FC (CYP)

2. SSC Napoli (ITA) - Chelsea FC (ENG)

3. AC Milan (ITA) - Arsenal FC (ENG)

4. FC Basel 1893 (SUI) - FC Bayern München (GER)

5. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) - FC Barcelona (ESP)

6. PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS) - Real Madrid CF (ESP)

7. FC Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS) - SL Benfica (POR)

8. Olympique de Marseille (FRA) - FC Internazionale Milano (ITA)


First Leg Tuesday February 21

SSC Napoli - Chelsea FC

PFC CSKA Moskva - Real Madrid CF

Second Leg: Wednesday March 14

First Leg Wednesday February 22

FC Basel 1893 - FC Bayern München

Olympique de Marseille - FC Internazionale Milano

Second Leg : Tuesday March 13


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey