|41||Kerzhakov (GK)||1||Sels (GK)|
|10||Danny (C)||10||Renato Neto|
|1||Lodygin (GK)||25||Vandenbussche (GK)|
|17||Van der Bruggen|
|André Villas-Boas (POR) ||Hein Vanhaezebrouck (BEL) |
|Matej Jug (SVN)|
|G||M. Tel-Aviv||Dynamo Kyiv|
Hulk was Gent's destroyer-in-chief, setting up both Zenit goals as André Villas-Boas's side made it two wins from two in Group H.
Hulk left defenders in his wake throughout in St Petersburg, never more so than for the 35th-minute opener. His marker, Rafinha, was sitting on the turf as the No7's cross was headed in by Artem Dzyuba. Thomas Matton levelled, but it merely reawakened the beast as Hulk's perfectly-weighted pass set up Oleg Shatov for the winner.
Goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov, younger brother of ex-Russia forward Aleksandr, could not have dreamed of a calmer introduction to life in the UEFA Champions League. Zenit set their stall out early, forcing the visitors onto the back foot. Gent never really left it.
It took strong hands from Matz Sels to keep out Ezequiel Garay's lovely free-kick though much of the home threat came from Hulk's destructive runs, the Brazilian punching holes in the defence. Dzyuba could not capitalise with a volley midway through the half, but his header did the job.
Gent were struggling to make headway, with their nascent attacks invariably cut short by the foraging Axel Witsel. The Belgium midfielder was overrun at the start of the second period though as Gent looked to fashion a riposte that duly came when Matton volleyed in Sven Kums's cross.
Having held Lyon to a draw on matchday one despite being down to nine men, Gent appeared set to upset the odds again yet Hulk had other ideas. With 67 minutes gone he orchestrated a move that ended in Shatov, returning from a knock, lifting the ball over Sels and into the net.
Key player: Hulk
André Villas-Boas, Zenit coach
There are still four games to go and we play Lyon next. It would be great to have maximum points after three games because that would give us a great chance of making the next round. It is very important for us to reach that stage.
We don't have a big squad and we are not able to rotate often, but we are working with what we have. We're doing well in the Champions League but not in the Russian Premier League, but we will keep working to be successful.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck, Gent coach
We had our moments, we played well, but we are still learning. We have improved already, standing up to these teams and at times we were even better than Zenit. But we must be smarter. They are better at the finer details. It's a skill we need to develop.
The first goal came from losing possession. Zenit always let their opponents have a bit of the initiative but I am sure they did not intend us to have quite as much as we did. Ultimately, they were very happy to win as they feared that it could go against them.
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