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Zenit v Club Brugge Live Commentary, 20/10/2020

FT
1 - 2
ZEN
CLU
E. Horvath (74 og)
E. Dennis (63)
C. De Ketelaere (90+3)
Saint-Petersburg Stadium

Commentary

Both sides will return to domestic action now, but they're in Europe again next week as they face off against the rest of Group F. For Brugge, that means the visit of Lazio - and for Zenit, that means a daunting trip to Dortmund where they will have to hope to snatch something. Until then, thank you for joining us - and have a great week!
What is going through Sergei Semak's head right now? He was expected to win this one by local media, was said to be under pressure if his team didn't get off to the best possible start. He may be in for a sleepless night.
Charles De Ketelaere's injury-time finish has handed Club Brugge the most vital of wins in their Champions League opener - and left Zenit facing an uphill climb already to make it past the group stages! The hosts thought they'd got something from this match after Dejan Lovren's sensational strike was diverted in for an own goal by keeper Ethan Horvath, to cancel out Emmanuel Dennis' controversial opener. But there's nothing wrong with the visitors' finish there - they will take the three points back to Belgium! At full-time in Saint Petersburg, it finishes Zenit 1-2 Club Brugge.
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: ZENIT 1-2 CLUB BRUGGE
C. De Ketelaere
Goal
Club Brugge
90' + 3' GOAL! CLUB BRUGGE HAVE TAKEN IT AT THE DEATH THROUGH CHARLES DE KETELAERE! 2-1! It's Vormer, latching onto a superb pass on the right side of the box, and he squares it to his team-mate for an almost hilariously easy tap-in. Zenit are shellshocked. The Belgians have surely grabbed three points here!
R. Vormer
Assist
Club Brugge
90' + 3' Vormer, with a lovely touch, sets that one up for the finish. Zenit players have their heads in their hands. Local media pegged this as a must-win. They're going to start out their campaign empty-handed.
90' + 2' Brugge whip a superb delivery into the Zenit box and it just skitters behind Lang, rampaging towards goal in search of a connection. Neither side seems willing to settle for a draw.
90' Four added minutes incoming. Four added minutes for something to win this game.
89' Wendel! A deflection almost takes the Zenit's man strike away from Horvath but the keeper just manages to palm it away before it can slip past him.
A. Erokhin
M. Ozdoev
Zenit
88' Ozdoev is replaced by Erokhin for the hosts. Brugge now see a chance hooked wide by De Ketelaere. End to end stuff, these final few minutes.
H. Vanaken
Yellow Card
Club Brugge
85' Vanaken picks up a lazy booking now for an elbow in the gut during a challenge. It'll be another yellow card after a bit more play-acting from the hosts, who have been milking it quite a bit on the turf today.
84' Mostovoy races onto a cutback and leathers it just wide of the right post from outside the box. This game has burst into mad life. It could go either way.
Y. Badji
E. Dennis
Club Brugge
82' Dennis has been struggling with a knee problem for a few minutes and now he has to sadly limp off. The Brugge goalscorer is replaced by Badji.
80' Dzyuba! Horvath makes a cracking save to deny the Zenit forward's close-range effort after Wendel had teed him up with a fine cross. Both sides are looking for that climactic winner now.
N. Lang
K. Diatta
Club Brugge
78' Diatta has played his part for Brugge now and Noa Lang is his replacement.
76' Dejan Lovren will be dining out on that one for years to come. It's the sort of strike highlight reels are made for. It's a pinch-yourself moment. Down the other end, Brugge sail out of the blocks and Karavayev puts the world's worst back-pass to his keeper, allowing Diatta to nearly tap it in. Kerzhakov clears, but only just.
E. Horvath
Own Goal
Club Brugge
74' GOAL! IT'S A ETHAN HORVATH OWN GOAL BUT DEJAN LOVREN WITH THE HIT FOR ZENIT! 1-1! Holy cow, what a strike from the centre-back! That is an absolute blinder! The former Liverpool man tees up the most innocuous play over 30 yards out and then smashes an effort that absolutely sails towards the right post. It ricochets back off with brutal force - and cracks back into the net off Horvath's hand, still outstretched after he attempted to save it. Game on in Saint Petersburg.
A. Mostovoy
S. Driussi
Zenit
72' Zenit also replace Driussi with Mostovoy for their second change.
Wendel
D. Kuzyaev
Zenit
72' Zenit make the first change of the game, bringing off Kuzyaev in place of Wendel.
71' Driussi! That is a horrendous miss from the Zenit man. Azmoun shows the composure to bring down a long ball, and could shoot. Instead, he plays it across to his team-mate, racing on from open space, and he blazes it well over. A golden chance, snuffed there.
69' Dennis looks absolutely delighted right now, roving to and fro across the pitch whenever the ball falls his way. He is at the heart of another spell of pressure on the Zenit box, forcing the hosts to muscle up to keep him and Vanaken out of the penalty area.
67' Dzyuba! Zenit almost have their equaliser, but the striker is AWOL as a flat pass squirts across the face of the Brugge goal. There could have been a tap-in there.
65' Zenit's players are absolutely fuming with that decision. Initial replays looked to have shown the ball going out of play near the right post and their defence appeared to assume that a whistle was about to be blown. Instead, Dennis cut inside and opened them up. The decision has stood but the hosts are outraged.
E. Dennis
Goal
Club Brugge
63' GOAL! EMMANUEL DENNIS FOR CLUB BRUGGE! 1-0! The visitors have the lead, but not without some controversy! The striker chases a throughball into the box and looks to have been held off by Barrios on the cusp of falling out of play. But a slip from the Zenit man sees the ball somehow stay in the box and the attacker cuts back in to shoot - and though Kerzhakov and Rakitskiy both try to defend off the line, Dennis is able to poke home a moment later. First blood to Brugge.
62' Karavayev concedes a fairly soft corner down the other end as Brugge look to wrestle equilibrum back in this match after a period on the back foot. The set-piece skims away but the visitors are still on the cusp.
60' Ricca gets in another great block after Zenit work their set-piece around, trying to find a chink in the Brugge defence. Azmoun rises to meet the second corner and plants his header just wide with a lot of power behind it.
58' Azmoun! A superb tap-on releases him into the Brugge box and it takes a last-gasp boot from Ricca to see his shot deflected away for a corner.
56' Just the one shot on target for both sides so far. It's not been a hugely dull game, but golden chances have certainly been at a premium.
54' Vormer cracks the free-kick over the heads of everyone in the box and straight into the arms of the goalkeeper.
D. Lovren
Yellow Card
Zenit
53' Lovren makes a particularly brusque challenge on Dennis and becomes the first Zenit man to be shown a card today, with Brugge handed a dangerous free-kick position on the left edge.
51' Is that a penalty? It's close, but Rits - who blocks a cutback inside his own box being pushed towards Azmoun - just keeps his arm away after he quite literally slipped into the path of the ball.
50' This is much more strident from Zenit going forward, working it out of their midfield and down the central flanks. Brugge are looking oddly stretched, as if they're expecting the ball to go wide and are trying to cover for the possibility.
48' That's the ticket from the hosts! Driussi leathers a shot just wide of the left post, only moments after Brugge were unlocked by a swift dart from Ozdoyev. The latter went to ground on the edge of the box claiming a penalty - but he could have possibly kept his footing to shoot there.
46' We're back underway in this Champions League clash between Zenit and Club Brugge. Can either of them find the breakthrough - or is this headed for a goalless draw?
It was five shots to two in favour of Brugge at the end of that first half, but Zenit did have more of the ball. It will be curious to see if they come out with a more direct attacking line through the middle after the break.
Two fine efforts from Hans Vanaken are the pick of the half for chances, but it remains goalless at the break between Zenit and Club Brugge in the Champions League. The hosts looked to have the earlier advantage in terms of pressure, but neither side has been allowed to pull away so far - and it remains finely poised for both to come out firing. At half-time, it's Zenit 0-0 Club Brugge.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: ZENIT 0-0 CLUB BRUGGE
45' Rits nearly misjudges a ball into the Brugge box down the other end now and Azmoun can't quite scramble to it in time. Lovren gets on the end of the corner and puts the header straight to the keeper. There will be two extra minutes.
43' Vanaken again! This time, it's a long-range effort, over 20 yards out on the left and lifted just over the top-right corner. Brugge are pressing in earnest now.
41' Diatta rifles an attempt towards goal from the set-piece but skews it well wide. Still, it is great initiative from the visitors as they grow in confidence.
40' Vanaken! He rises to land a powerful header from a De Ketelaere cross and just sees it tipped over the bar. The best chance of the game and a great stop from Kerzhakov. Corner to Brugge.
38' Lovren is having a fairly solid game at the back for Zenit, but the danger men for Brugge - led by Dennis - are keeping some pressure around the hosts' box, probing as and when.
36' Zenit charge down the left wing with a lovely ball looking for Krugovoy. It spins beyond him in the end though and skitters away for a goal-kick.
M. Rits
Yellow Card
Club Brugge
33' Rits becomes the third Brugge man to see a booking, again accompanied by a spot of melodrama from the Zenit man he nudged. Is referee Benoit Bastien being a bit too free and easy with his yellow cards so far?
32' There's yet to be a blowout opportunity for either side yet, is there? No screaming miss or absolutely thrilling attempted finish. Both teams are still settling back into the rhythms of European football, though Sergei Semak does have a lovely pair of gloves on.
30' Both teams have registered less than 80 per cent in terms of pass accuracy so far in the first half hour. Brugge almost have a golden opportunity when Dennis finds himself in space following a misplaced header in the Zenit penalty area, but the cutback sent his way spins off behind him and away to safety.
28' Dennis tries to instigate a smart one-two around the edge of the Zenit box now, but a waylaid pass means that his efforts come to naught.
26' Barrios is sent tumbling to the ground by an industrious challenge once more. The midfielder is pulling quite a bit of heat from Brugge's defenders today, and he seems to be relishing it for the moment.
24' Horvath makes a smoother collection this time as Zenit clip another dangerous ball for a lurking Azmoun into the box. That will do the American goalkeeper's confidence some good.
22' Rakitskiy slips as he tries to field a long ball and almost folds himself over it, bringing play to a halt. Barrios needs some treatment but looks good to continue for Zenit.
20' The visitors aren't switching off entirely though, as they pick the pocket in midfield and counter smartly. Dennis roams into the box, expecting a cross - but there's hesitation and the ball never comes.
18' Azmoun is being allowed to run with the ball between Brugge defenders with a surprising ease so far and the crowd, lessened as they are, are starting to respond in full voice.
16' Philippe Clement - a back-to-back Belgian title winner as a coach now with Genk and Brugge, as well as a onetime Coventry City player - is quite animated on the touchline. He doesn't seem to think his side have had the rub of the green so far, but they're comfortable for the most part.
E. Dennis
Yellow Card
Club Brugge
14' Dennis now picks up another booking for Brugge after a lazy challenge in attack, near the opposition box as he looked to work the ball around Barrios.
Clinton Mata
Yellow Card
Club Brugge
12' There's an early booking for Mata after he is flagged for an elbow in a challenge in the air. The call is a borderline one, but the card is brandished nonetheless after a spot of pantomime action on the floor from Ozdoyev.
10' Both sides will be aware that they'll need to take maximum returns from this game to stand a better chance of making it past the group stage. Dortmund are not a team to be trifled with and though Zenit came out of Pot 1 in the draw, they will still be wary of Lazio as well.
8' End-to-end stuff now, as Krugovoy is allowed to cut around Diatta on a dangerous run before Mechele manages to dislodge him off the ball inside his own box, before whipping it downfield on the counter. Dennis then goes close but can't quite get the finish to stick.
6' Down the other end of the pitch, Brugge get their first taste of attack with a corner now, played short to De Ketelaere. He whips it into the box on the reverse angle, and the Zenit defence muscle it away before Dennis can get a touch on it.
5' There's some real excitement here in Russia, two years on from that remarkable World Cup, about their participation in this competition this year. For the first time in history, they have three clubs in the group stages of the Champions League, and fans across the nation will feel that they may be able to spring a few surprises.
3' Horvath fumbles a cross flicked in from the right flank almost into the path of Azmoun and just about gets away with it. Zenit have a corner a moment later, which is backed up with a dangerous Barrios ball, but the finish is skewed well wide. Early pressure from the hosts.
1' We are underway in this Champions League tie between Zenit and Club Brugge!
The teams are out in Saint Petersburg, with a smattering of socially distanced fans lining the stands of the ground. The Champions League anthem sounds a bit like it's being played through the speaker system of a distant submarine, but both sets of players find the amusement in it.
The two sides are meeting in a competitive match for the first time since the 1987-88 UEFA Cup. On that occasion, it was Brugge who prevailed across a two-legged tie, on their way to an eventual semi-final finish. Will they be able to look to the past today for victory?
Subs: Nick Shinton, Senne Lammens, Nathan Fuakala, Ignace Van der Brempt, Maxim De Cuyper, Eder Balanta, Thomas Van Den Keybus, Siebe Schrijvers, Noa Lang, David Okereke, Youssouph Badji, Thibo Baeten.
CLUB BRUGGE (4-5-1): Ethan Horvath; Eduard Sobol, Brandon Mechele, Federico Ricca, Clinton Mata; Mats Rits, Ruud Vormer, Hans Vanaken, Charles De Ketelaere, Krepin Diatta; Emmanuel Dennis.
Subs: Andrei Mostovoy, Aleksei Sutormin, Wendel, Aleksandr Erokhin, Leon Musayev, Aleksandr Vasyutin, Danila Prokhin, Daniil Shamkin, Andrey Lunyov.
ZENIT (4-3-3): Mikhail Kerzhakov; Danil Krugovoy, Dejan Lovren, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Vyacheslav Karavayev; Wílmar Barrios, Magomed Ozdoyev, Daler Kuzyayev; Sebastián Driussi, Sardar Azmoun, Artem Dzyuba.
There's going to be no reunion for former Liverpool men Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet today, with the latter missing entirely from Brugge's squad after testing positive for COVID-19. But Lovren is starting for his new club at home, in a four-man defence, while the dangerous Wilmar Barrios lurks on the edge of midfield. He could prove crucial for the hosts.
Brugge have to go all the way back to the days before the Champions League was the Champions League to find the last time they made it past this first stage proper, but Zenit have enjoyed better luck in recent seasons. Though their last visit to the tournament in 2019-20 saw them finish bottom of their group, they made it to the round-of-16 stage in 2015-16 from a group including Valencia, Gent and Lyon - though their campaign was then curtailed by Benfica.
Two domestic champions, but there can only be one winner here as these two teams prepare to get their European campaigns underway. As respective winners of their country's top flight last season, both Zenit and Brugge arrive without the hassle of having to go through the qualification stages. They face no real easy ties however; they share Group F this season with Borussia Dortmund and Lazio, as they vie to make it to the knockout stages.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League, as Russian Premier League title holders Zenit square off with Belgian Pro League victors Club Brugge at Krestovsky Stadium.