Chelsea 1-0 Zenit, match highlights, 14 September 2021, Champions League

Zenit is not doomed in this Champions League. In England, the team was not ashamed

Dmitry Zimin

Dmitry Zimin

Chelsea - Zenit - 1: 0, match review

The Russian champion was close to a draw with Chelsea, but it was Lukaku’s class that decided everything.

In England, few people were interested in “Zenith”. Local newspapers dedicated their last pages Cristiano Ronaldo and the Premier League, and only a couple of paragraphs were devoted to the Champions League game. From the fans who gathered at the stadium for a couple of hours of play, only the words “Gazprom” and “St. Petersburg” were heard. Thousands of people walked down the small street at Stamford Bridge and turned towards a huge sign showing who won Europe’s biggest trophy last season. Natural English selfishness, supported by the status of the current Cup winners. What kind of “Zenith” can be here – a team that aroused many a feeling of doom even before the starting whistle. And then the first half and the middle of the second passed. And what did you think by the 68th minute?

Thomas Tuchel by this time, he was already nervously rushing about his zone and prompting the players with might and main. In the first half, they pressed Zenit only in the 40th minute. Before that, although Peter had less control over the ball, he occasionally ran out to attack. And if not for the frequent shoals Sutormina in simple episodes, there would be more potential approaches to someone else’s goal. Chistyakov, Rakitskiy and turned into a protector Barrios well covered Lukaku… And, most importantly, the team did not play cowardly. What has been so expected in the current Champions League after the last one.

Not bad, but not a statistical indicator of the first half – fans in blue shirts got up from their seats only twice in anticipation of a goal after dangerous attacks from Chelsea. In the second – the same amount. Not so many “no weaknesses” for a team.

The Russians and the Ukrainian from Zenit did not kneel in England.  How fans reacted
The Russians and the Ukrainian from Zenit did not kneel in England. How fans reacted

Of course, in the second half, Chelsea needed changes. Their offensive system didn’t work very well against the defense, which was arguably the best game of the year. And in this situation, the canopies were saved – Aspilicueta found a transfer in the penalty area of ​​Lukaku, followed by Chistyakov for the first time. The forward shot into the near corner, and Kritsyuk did not save.

Although before that Zenit could score – Azmun after a quick break, he jumped almost to Mendy, but did not hit the ball because of Rüdiger’s leg. And after the goal of Lukaku, the moment had Dzyuba, on which the Iranian made the transfer. No, Zenit did not play better than Chelsea and the result is rather logical, but the team Sergei Semak definitely did not include herself from the previous season, closing in defense.

Even after strong approaches from Chelsea, the team rushed to the attack and did not exactly evoke a feeling of hopelessness. This is the main outcome of the game.

After the final whistle, Tuchel already looked like a confident man, and 30 thousand people went home. It is unlikely that now “Zenith” has become even a little closer and clearer to them. Three points in the table – and thoughts about the next game. But after such a match, Zenit should definitely have an inner self-confidence.

After all, it is not at all a shame to lose with dignity.

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