- Zenit drop points for the first time this Europa League season.
- Muamar Tanković scores a wonder goal.
- Zenit have only won five out of their last ten games.
AZ Alkmaar are through to the round of 32 after stunning Zenit with a deserved 3-2 victory.
AZ Alkmaar vs Zenit 3-2
Goals: 1-0 Riensta (6’) 2-0 Haps (43’) 2-1 Giuliano (58’) 3-1 Tanković (67’) 3-2 Wuytens (og 79’)
AZ Alkmaar played a pressing game from the get go, and after Giuliano lost the ball in midfield, Ben Rienstra would score from 20 yards out. AZ kept pressing, and Muamar Tanković almost doubled the lead with a strike from just inside the box. Zenit had chances to equalize but Artem Dzyuba missed a close range opportunity early on, and then Giuliano had a wonderful effort from inside the box saved by AZ keeper Sergio Rochet. Instead it was AZ, who would double the lead just before the halftime break, as Ridgeciano Haps capped off a great attacking play with a low drive from the left corner of the box that first hit the post, and then went in the net. Shortly after AZ almost scored a third, but the post saved Zenit.
Mircea Lucescu made an early change bringing on Aleksandr Kokorin for Luka Djordjević, and Zenit were beginning to press to get back into the game. With Zenit pressing it was no surprise when Brazilian Giuliano pulled one back for his club, as he latched on to Aleksandr Anyukov’s pass before sending a powerful right-footed effort past Rochet. But AZ Alkmaar struck back when Muamar Tanković scored a stunning goal from 25 yards out. Zenit would, however, get one back when Kokorin, Dzyuba, and Róbert Mak combined well with each other in the box, but it was Stijn Wuytens, who would put the ball in his own net, as he attempted to prevent Giuliano from scoring from close range.
AZ Alkmaar vs Zenit – Man of the Match
Muamar Tanković was the best player on the pitch. The 21-year-old Swedish national team player was a constant threat to Zenit’s backline, and the forward scored an absolute stunning goal that made it 3-1 in what turned out to be the game winning goal.
AZ Alkmaar vs Zenit – Talking Point
Zenit continue their spell of inconsistency. In their last ten matches Zenit have won 5, drawn one, and lost four. As a result Zenit have been eliminated from the Russian Cup, and have dropped five points behind Russian Football Premier League leaders Spartak Moscow. The defeat against AZ Alkmaar will have little consequence for Zenit, as the Russians were already qualified, but head coach Mircea Lucescu should be worried about the current trend.
AZ Alkmaar vs Zenit – Match Stats
- AZ Alkmaar finally win at home, as they were winless at home for four matches in the Europa League.
- Giuliano has now scored six goals in six Europe League matches this season.
- Like last season in the Champions League Zenit fail to make it a perfect group stage performance by losing on matchday 6.
- Zenit have won just five out of their last ten competitive games.
Rochet – Johansson, Luckassen, Wuytens, Haps – Seuntjens (van Overeem 73’), Mühren, Rienstra – Bel Hassani, Weghorst, Tanković (dos Santos 68’)
Coach: John van den Brom
Lodygin – Anyukov, Novoseltsev, Lombaerts, Zhirkov – Javí Garcia (Yusupov 59’), Giuliano, Witsel – Djordjević (Kokorin 46’), Dzyuba, Mak
Coach: Mirce Lucescu