Abbiati heroics secure Milan win

Zenit St Petersburg were downheartened as they suffered a 3-2 home Champions League defeat against AC Milan after battling back from 2-0 down.

Last Updated: 03/10/12 at 19:28 Post Comment

El Shaarawy: Scored Milan's second

El Shaarawy: Scored Milan's second

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

The Russian champions have been thrust into chaos following player divisions that have been played out in public following the big-money arrivals of Hulk and Axel Witsel last month.

That has culminated in Zenit winning just one of their past five league games and seen captain Igor Denisov exiled for his claims the new signings are over-paid compared to their colleagues.

Milan themselves arrived in Russia under pressure, sitting 11th in Serie A, but left celebrating their first Champions League win of the campaign after surviving a brave Zenit comeback.

Goals from Urby Emanuelson, following a wicked deflection, and Stephan El Shaarawi inside the opening 16 minutes fired the visitors ahead but Zenit replied in the minutes either side of half-time through Hulk and Roman Shirokov.

But the luckless hosts fell behind for good 15 minutes from the end when again a deflection cost them as Tomas Hubocan inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.

There was still time for Zenit to attempt another rally but Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, who pulled off a string of stunning saves throughout, somehow turned away a late Aleksandr Anyukov strike.

The burden of pressure on Zenit before kick-off was quickly intensified when they fell 2-0 behind.

With Milan's own form under the microscope they came out firing and while their opener on 13 minutes owed to some fortune, when Emanuelson saw his free-kick take a deflection off the wall to wrong-foot Viacheslav Malafeev, their lead was hardly unwarranted.

Their second arrived just three minutes later via a splendid El Shaarawi run and finish, the midfielder leaving at least three Zenit players standing in his wake.

Zenit, however, proved their resilience - questioned at times in the difficult recent past - as they peppered Abbiati in the away goal for the remainder of the half.

Hulk led the assault as first his stinging drive forced a fine diving fingertip save from Abbiati.

The veteran goalkeeper then moved quickly to catch a Shirokov header, from a corner delivered by Hulk, who then blasted a low free-kick that drew the best stop of the half from Abbiati.

Hulk finally broke through with the last kick of the first period when Shirokov played him in behind the defence and his angled drive squirmed under Abbiati's outstretched arm.

It loomed as a pivotal moment as Zenit equalised within minutes of the resumption.

This time it was Hulk who turned provider with his corner finding Shirokov unmarked at the back post to head past Abbiati.

Suddenly Milan's recent failings were under examination and they responded with a fluid forward move that ended with Kevin-Prince Boateng wastefully heading wide across goal.

The game brimmed to the boil, with both teams desperate to claim a win to at least exile some of their recent woes, and it was the visitors who got the decisive goal.

Giampaolo Pazzini only got the barest of touches on Riccardo Montolivo's low cross but it was enough to catch Tomas Hubocan's arm and wrong-foot Malafeev for a second time.

Again Zenit battled back but again Abbiati frustrated them as he flew across his goal to claw away a full-blooded Anyukov drive and secure a win to ease the pressure on their boss Massimiliano Allegri.

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

Transfer news: Leicester want Manchester United duo Nick Powell and Tom Lawrence

Manchester duo Nick Powell and Tom Lawrence could be joining Leicester City on deadline day, Sky sources understand.

Premier League: Luis Suarez returns to Liverpool with gift for Steven Gerrard

Luis Suarez returned to Liverpool’s Melwood training ground on Monday - but only to bid farewell to his former team-mates.

Transfer news: Hull City agree Mohamed Diame fee with West Ham

Hull City have agreed a fee with West Ham for midfielder Mohamed Diame, Sky sources understand.

Mail Box

It's That Time Again: 'Wenger Out'

Are Arsenal fans the ficklest in the Premier League? That's one question in the mailbox as Gooners call for Wenger to leave (again). Plus, plenty of reaction to Falcao...

Wenger: The Most Stubborn Manager Going

Arsenal fans would quite like their club to sign a striker thank you very much, whilst someone is excited about Jim White et al. Plus, Klose to Arsenal please...

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