Zenit held Bayern in UEFA Cup

April 25th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by admin  

Munich, April 25 (DPA) German side Bayern Munich’s hopes of adding another UEFA Cup title to their name were dented when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Zenit St Petersburg in the first leg of their semi-final here. The German league leaders Thursday got the early goal they wanted through Franck Ribery but the Russian champions threw off first-half caution to equalise when Lucio headed the ball into his own net on the hour.

To make matters worse, striker Miroslav Klose suffered a broken nose towards the end of the game, while goalkeeper Oliver Kahn left the field in the second half and was diagnosed to have a trapped nerve in his lower back.

Bayern were without the services of suspended Luca Toni, but the Italian was barely missed in the open stages when early pressure was rewarded with an 18th-minute goal.

Ze Roberto was brought down in the area by the outstretched leg of Fernando Ricken and referee Lubos Michel pointed to the spot.

Ribery shot weakly with his right foot straight to Vyacheslav Malafeev but the keeper could only parry the ball, which bounced back to the midfielder who converted the goal with his left foot.

“The early goal gave us a boost but we didn’t follow up with a second, which has been a deficit of our game,” said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

“We lacked the final determination in decisive moments. A second goal would have been deserved based on the first-half performance.

“The first 15 minutes of the second half belonged to Zenit but then we came into the game better. We will get our counter-attacks in the return leg because Zenit will be more attacking. We just have to show more determination.”

Zenit had enjoyed a 4-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen in the previous round and Hitzfeld had warned of their counter-attacking threat.

But the Russian champions appeared unwilling to commit players forward, and it was not until mid-way through the first half that Konstantin Zyryanov tested Kahn.

Lukas Podolski came in for Toni to partner Klose, who shrugged off a foot injury but then suffered a nose fracture in a clash going for the ball as Bayern pressed for a winner.

Midfielder Mark van Bommel played despite suffering a similar nose injury in Saturday’s German Cup victory in extra-time over Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern, in the hunt for a second UEFA Cup crown to go with what looks a certain Bundesliga title, were warned after the break by a Viktor Fayzulin effort past the post.

With Zenit beginning to combine well in midfield, Fayzulin again found space down the left to zip in a cross that Lucio could only head past Kahn into his own net.

It was virtually the last action for the 38-year-old Kahn who had minutes earlier needed treatment behind the touchline.

Appearing in his last European match in Munich before retiring at the end of the season, he trudged off in the 66th minute to be replaced by Michael Rensing in goal.

Bayern kept pushing for a second goal and Lucio came close to making amends with a pile drive.

Zenit almost snatched a winner when Fyazulin poked the ball through Rensing’s legs only to see Ze Roberto clear off the line, and Andrey Arshavin fired successively over the bar and wide of the post in the remaining minutes before Podolski shaved the post in the final seconds.

Zenit coach Dick Advocaat, however, will be satisfied with the result going into the return leg at home next Thursday, knowing even a goalless draw will put his side in the May 14 final in Manchester.

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