Apoel fight back for opening win

Apoel Nicosia came from behind to open their Champions League Group G campaign with a 2-1 win over Zenit St Petersburg.

Last Updated: 13/09/11 at 22:41 Post Comment

Marcinho (left): Challenged by Zenit's Denisov

Marcinho (left): Challenged by Zenit's Denisov

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

Gustavo Manduca scored one and created the 75th-minute winner for Ailton as the hosts recovered from conceding to Konstatin Zyryanov against the run of play.

Zenit were dealt another setback when Bruno Alves was sent off for a second yellow card with 14 minutes to go, but they piled on late pressure and might have snatched a point had Viktor Fayzulin's shot gone in rather than hit the bar.

The hosts were the first to threaten when Zenit goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev was forced to punch clear Marcinho's cross.

Malafeev then parried Ailton's shot from 12 yards as another of Apoel's Brazilian contingent tried his luck.

The Russian stopper was keeping his side on level terms and denied Ivan Trickovski minutes later.

Zenit finally got going, though, and Nicolas Lombaerts headed Roman Shirokov's left-wing cross wide at the far post.

But that was a rare moment of adventure for the visitors and Trickovski drilled an effort wide from the edge of the area at the other end.

The Cypriots continued to dominate after the break and the lively Trickovski had another shot parried by the over-worked Malafeev.

Marcinho then fired over the top from long range before Ailton headed over from a Trickovski ball in.

But Zenit went in front completely against the run of play in the 63rd minute.

Danny played the ball in from the right and Zyryanov guided a low finish into the bottom right corner.

Suddenly Zenit were the side making all the running, Alexander Kerzhakov twice mis-hitting shots wide in quick succession and Danny having an effort blocked by defender Paulo Jorge.

But within the space of three minutes Apoel had turned the game on its head.

Manduca volleyed home a 73rd-minute equaliser from the left of the area before setting up Ailton to curl a second low inside the far post from 18 yards.

And things went from bad to worse for Zenit a minute later when Alves fouled Ailton and was shown a second yellow card.

The Russians poured forward in search of an equaliser in the closing stages with Danny seeing a shot saved by Dionisis Chiotis and Viktor Fayzulin crashing a shot against the bar.

Fayzulin then crossed for Lombaerts who headed wide as Apoel held on for an important win.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

There are no results at present.

Footer 365

Gareth Bale says Real Madrid are eyeing a six-trophy campaign this season

Gareth Bale says Real Madrid are targeting an even bigger trophy haul this season.

Premier League: Gylfi Sigurdsson delighted with move to Swansea from Tottenham

Gylfi Sigurdsson has told Sky Sports he is delighted to have joined former club Swansea from Tottenham.

Transfer news: Tottenham sign Ben Davies and Michel Vorm, Gylfi Sigurdsson joins Swansea

Tottenham have signed Swansea duo Ben Davies and Michel Vorm, with Gylfi Sigurdsson moving in the opposite direction.

Mail Box

Defending Woodward With Perspective

One Mailer is telling us to hold fire on our Woodward criticism, whilst we also have some wonderful PFA Team of The year geekery, a well done to Vieira and much more...

Why The Obsession Over The Captaincy?

Asks the morning mailbox, before hastily returning to the debate over who should replace Steven Gerrard. Plus, thoughts on Ed Woodward's spending plans and more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property