Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press
Muscular Brazil international Hulk was at his irresistible best on Tuesday evening to help fire Andre Villas-Boas' Zenit St Petersburg through to the group phase of the UEFA Champions League with a second-half brace against Standard Liege.
The inconsistent forward was heavily criticised by both the Selecao fans and press for his lacklustre displays in attack for the host nation at this summer’s World Cup.
However, Hulk appeared a player reborn as last season’s Russian Premier League runners-up easily overcame Standard 3-0 on the night, and 4-0 over the two legs.
The 28-year-old’s second goal—his opener came from the penalty spot—was the eye-catching moment of the tie. Picking up possession of the ball near the halfway line after a stray pass from the visitors, Hulk then went on a powerful solo run that took him past three Liege players, before coolly planting the ball into the far corner of the net to complete the home side’s scoring.