A Super Win For Zenit St Petersburg

R LSenior Analyst IAugust 29, 2008


Zenit St Petersburg shocked Manchester United to win the UEFA Super Cup, building great confidence for the UEFA Champions League. The first half saw United with more possession, but it was the Russian club that created the better scoring chances.

Pavel Pogrebniak had a number of chances inside the box, only to have the defenders take the ball away before he could pull the trigger. He fired a shot over the crossbar during another opportunity. Only 20 minutes gone, and United looked shaky.

In the 24th minute, Zenit were given a free kick just outside the box. Alejandro Dominguez took it beautifully, but it just curled wide of the near post. Manchesters best chance in the first half came after Carlos Tevez made a great run on the right side to set up Wayne Rooney in the box. Viacheslav Malafeev was there to make a superb save though.

With half time approaching, Zenit made the breakthrough—deservedly. Dominguez took a corner which Igor Denisov nicely flicked on with his head to Pogrebniak for the easy header.

Andrei Arshavin stepped onto the pitch for Dominguez in the second half—attracting plenty of cheers. Isn't it amazing how well known he is after Euro 2008? The Russian was constantly threatening with runs on the left side, giving the United defenders plenty of scare.

I'm sure Edwin Van der Sar wasn't too happy to lay eyes on him either. In the 56th minute, Rooney had a great vision of the goal from the left side, but fired wide. Three minutes later, Zenit all but sealed the victory.

Miguel Danny received the ball, got inside the box, cut inside on Rio Ferdinand, and fired it home on a helpless Van der Sar. A goal surely to make highlight reels worldwide. United got one back in the 73rd minute when Tevez stopped the ball at the by line, and sent it to Nemanja Vidic for the tap-in.

Tevez was Uniteds best player by far, with many superb runs, and constantly fighting for the ball. It was too little, too late however. The loss wasn't enough bad news for Paul Scholes I guess. A cross was sent into the box in the 90th minute, and Scholes smacked it into the net with his hand.

With no replays for the refs to see during matches, I suppose he may have been able to deceive them. Unfortunately, for the Englishman, he was caught and received a red card. Scholes will also be suspended for Manchesters home game against Villarreal in the Champions League.

Just another headache for Sir Alex Ferguson. Cristiano Ronaldo can't come back soon enough for this team.

Zenit St Petersburg on the other hand, will go into the CL with much belief in themselves I'm sure. Injures or no injuries, this is a huge victory, and they needed it with Real Madrid and Juventus awaiting them in Group H.