Zenit St Petersburg v Dundalk

Stephen Kenny's men go to Russia looking to avenge the defeat in Tallaght two weeks ago

RuaidhrĂ­ Croke Thu, Nov 3
LIVE: Zenit St Petersburg v Dundalk

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  • 17:29

    Good evening and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of Dundalk's Europa League clash away to Zenit St Petersburg. My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll be with you for the evening as Stephen Kenny's men look to improve on the defeat suffered at the hands of the Russian team in Tallaght 2 weeks ago. You can get involved using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.

    With the FAI Cup Final on Sunday and the seeming impossibility of Dundalk coming away from Russia with a result, it would come as no surprise if Kenny was to rest a few key players. Even a loss tonight will leave the Irish champions with an excellent chance of qualifying as they face into the final two group games at home to AZ Alkmaar and away to Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

    However Kenny was quick to say that he would not be going into the game with the mentality of defeat when he spoke to the media yesterday.

    Dundalk currently sit second in Group D with four points, one ahead of Maccabi and two ahead of AZ. Zenit top the group with the maximum points tally of nine and look set to comfortably progress as group winners.

    Team news to follow!

  • 17:41
  • 17:44

    There are your teams for this evening's game and, as you can see, there are a few interesting selections for Dundalk.

    Stephen O'Donnell doesn't make it into the starting 11 as he continues to recover from injury and, as captain, it will be imperative to have him fit for the cup final on Sunday.

    Kenny seems to be having a go this evening by playing Patrick McEleney who will most likely play in the hole just off David McMillan.

    It's -2 degrees in St Petersburg with a wing chill factor of -10! Can Dundalk cause one of the biggest upsets in this year's competition so far?

    Zenit need just one point to qualify and can win the group with two games to spare tonight if they pick up all three.

    All will be revealed, we're now just 15 minutes from kick-off!

  • 17:58

    Ok here we go!

    The teams are on the (lightly snow covered) pitch. I am delighted to say that we'rebeing treated to a retro bright orange ball in the snow tonight. Orange pitch markings as well!

    No matter what the result those two elements are the highlights of this evening.

  • 18:01
    1 min: We are underway in Russia! (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:04
    3 mins: The snow continues to fall in St Petersburg and is making conditions tough as the ball skids across the surface. I am glad to report that only two Dundalk players (Patrick McEleney and Ronan Finn) are wearing gloves as opposed to every Zenit player. Even if they don't get the result after 90 minutes, the Irish team have already taken the moral victory.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:07

    4 mins: After just two minutes in Istanbul Fenerbache have taken the lead against Manchester United.

    Dundalk have started quite comfortably here and are keeping the ball well despite the conditions. After a deflection McMillan found the ball at his feet on the edge of the box and tried to play in Mountney but his ball was juts a little too heavy. That's the best chance of the game so far.

    The noise from the Zenit fans is incredible.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)

  • 18:12
    10 mins: No clear cut chances or even half chances really so far in Russia but Dundalk look extremely comfortable. Very little seems to rattle this team.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:15
    13 mins: Chance for Dundalk! And it came from absolutely nothing! On the right wing Mountney lofted in a hopeful ball towards the back post. With only McMillan in the box it looked to be causing no danger but the swerve took it towards goal, catching the goalkeeper completely off guard and cracking off the post! That's the closest we've come to a goal so far.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:18
    17 mins: Dundalk are probably just shading this as the better team so far. Zenit are struggling to string any passes together in the Dundalk half while Finn and McEleney have looked most dangerous down the right wing.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:20
    20 mins: Chance for Zenit! With some silky footwork Kokorin creates a bit of space 20 yards form the Dundalk goal and plays a clever backheel to Shatov who tries his luck first time but Rogers get a strong two hands to it to palm over. The corner comes to nothing and Dundalk can clear. The home side are beginning to get on top now.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:25
    25 mins: Horgan tries his luck from range after finding space 25 yards out but his effort is straight at the goalkeeper.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:27
    26 mins: Giuliano, who scored the winner for Zenit in Tallaght, is causing havoc again. After a good high press from the Russians caused Dundalk to lose possession in their defensive third the Brazialin wiggled his way through on the right hand side of the box but lost his footing on the icy ground and his tame shot bobbled wide.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:32
    30 mins: Zenit are limiting Dundalk to long range shots now but the Irish side are doing a superb job defensively. McEleney tried his luck from range with a low shot that skipped up off the slippy turf but flew wide.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:36
    33 mins: A lovely move from Zenit almost leads to a goal. Kerzhakov made an excellent diagonal run to the left wing and got on the end of a through ball. His first cross was blocked by Gartland but with the second attempt the Russian found Shatov who was completely free on the penalty spot. He volleyed first time towards goal but Andy Boyle managed to get his chest in the way and divert it from goal.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:38
    35 mins: Chance for Zenit! And it really should have been the opening goal. Witsel found Mauricio in the midfield and he was able to take advantge of poor positioning from Dane Massey to slide a pass through a huge gap in the Dundalk defence and find the feet of Giuliano. The Brazilian should have hit it first time but instead checked back inside and was defied by the excellent goalkeeping of Gary Rogers who stayed tall and anticipated the shot from 12 yards.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:41
    39 mins: More heroic defending from Dundalk prevents the opening goal! A hopeful cross into the box post landed on the toe of Shatov but his touch was poor and it got away from him. However Gartland couldn't manage to clear and Giuliano picked it up on the penalty spot. The Brazialin twisted and turned before looking to slip it into the bottom corner but the centre half partnership of Boyle and Gartland combined to block down the shit. Dundalk are living on the edge now.  (Zenit 0 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:42



  • 18:46
    42 mins: Dundalk were living on the edge and they've now tipped over that edeg. And, cruelly, it was an easily avoidable mistake. Shields received the ball in the centre circle and instead of going forward turned back and layed it into the feet off Gartland. The centre half wasn't expecting it and couldn't get the ball out from under his feet, allowing Kerzhakov to dispossess him and bear down on Rogers and the goal. The Russian moved into the box before calmly slotting it sideways to Giuliano who took a touch and slid it past Rogers into the net. In the aftermath Finn received a yellow card for a frustrated lash out at Kokorin.  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 0)
  • 18:46
  • 18:56

    Overall it's not a bad opening 45 minutes for Dundalk. In the first 20 minutes or so they were right in the game and looked very comfortable. However, as happened in Tallaght after they took the lead, Zenit seemed to simply decide to notch it up a gear and immediately had Dundalk on the rack. Gartland and Boyle did their best to block a number of shots inside the box but it could only last so long. However it was unfortunate that Gartland was the one who lost out for the opening goal, albeit mainly due to the fact that Shields sold him a little short with his back pass.

    But, with 45 minutes to go, Dundalk are still in this. And that's more than most were expecting before kick-off.

  • 19:02
    46 mins: The second half is underway! Stephen O'Donnell replaces John Mountney for Dundalk.  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 0)
  • 19:06
    50 mins: Zenit are continuing their superiority so far in this half and almost carved out a chance after Kokorin floated a good ball into the middle but Gartland got up to clear.  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 0)
  • 19:08

    GOAL FOR DUNDALK!!!!!!! (HORGAN, 52')


  • 19:12
    54 mins: What an incredible moment! And it was another defensive error which led to it. Zenit were on the attack but lost it on the edge of the box from where Gannon put his foot through it with a good old fashioned up-and-under. It dropped inside the Zenit half on the head of Mauricio who, inexplicably, tried to play a clever (or not so clever) cushioned back header to Neto but the centre half had stepped up and it went right past him. Horgan sprinted onto it and bore down on goal. Still with plenty of work to do he kept his cool, shifted it to the right and slid it past the goalkeeper to equalise! (Zenit 1 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:18
    60 mins: Zenit are shifting it up a few gears again now but the Dundalk defence is holding strong. A superbly timed tackle from Gartland, right on the edge of his six yard box, took the ball off the toe of Giuliano and prevented a certain goal. With 30 minutes to go you'd fancy that there will have to be a few more of those tackles if the Irish champions are to get anything from this. Perhaps Gartland can be Dundalk's Richard Dunne in Moscow 2011. We are in Russia after all...  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:18
    Alan O'Sullivan What a moment!!! Daryl Hogan for Ireland (President not squad)
  • 19:21
    65 mins: Living on the edge is not the phrase for this! A good Zenit move leaves Kerzhakov in space on the edge of the box and he fired a shot towards the bottom left corner but Rogers managed to get down and save. From the corner the ball flew over the heads of everyone in the box but only as far as Anyukov on the right wing. He played it back to Mauricio on the edge who in turn slipped it back to his team mate, allowing the the right  to find Kerzhakov right at the front post but his close range effort slid inches wide. Dundalk can breathe yet again. 25 minutes to go!  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:22

    66 mins: In Istanbul Fenerbache have doubled their advantage against Manchester United and now lead 2-0.

    Meanwhile Ciarán Kilduff has replaced McMillan for Dundalk.  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:26

    69 mins: Shatov is replaced by Robert Mak for Zenit.

    That happens just as O'Donnell prevents a certain goal for Zenit! The Russians attacked three on two with Kokorin the man over on the right. Giuliano laid it out to his team mate who was in acres of space in the box but O'Donnell charged back to nick it away!  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:27
    70 mins: Chance for Zenit! Giuliano laid it back to Witsel who shot first time with a curling effort aimed at the top corner but it flies well wide. Still 20 minutes for Dundalk to survive...  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:34
    77 mins: Chance for Zenit! After a rare foray into the opposition half Horgan lost it on the left. The Russians broke quickly with Kokorin getting behind Massey down the left before pulling it back to Kerzhakov who had made the near post run. However the angle beat the striker and he couldn't turn his shot around the corner enough to find the goal.  (Zenit 1 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:34



  • 19:37

    78 mins: That was a scrappy goal to give away. But it was really, really coming. Gartland again was at fault as his pass into the middle was loose and picked up by Zenit. The ball found its way out to Anyukov on the right who floated a high, hopeful ball into the middle. It landed in the six yard area at the feet of Giuliano but he scuffed his shot wide. However, Mauricio managed to get to it right on the line and squeeze it back to the Brazilian who took a touch and scrambled it into the net from a yard or two. Gartland will be kicking himself but there was no doubt it was coming for Zenit.

    Meanwhile, McEleney has received a booking.  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:41

    82 mins: McEleney hits the crossbar!

    Dundalk just will not lie down! Horgan picked the ball up in his own half and played a majestic, and I mean majestic, pass between the Zenit centre half and left back and onto the toe of the onrushing McEleney. With little option but to shoot from the angle the Dundalk winger managed to work a lob over Kerzhakhov in the Zenit goal but his dipping effort cannoned off the under side of the crossbar and away from danger!

    That pass from Horgan was absolutely superb. That was also McEleney's last involvement as he's replaced by Dean Shiels.  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)

  • 19:42
    86 mins: Dundalk are still pushing and now have a free kick in a perfect central position just 20 yards from goal after Lombaerts fouled Shields. Could this be it...?  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:43
    87 mins: Horgan takes but it hits the wall and Zenit manage to scramble it clear. Dundalk are really pushing for this equaliser now!  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:44
    88 mins: O'Donnell receives a yellow card for a late challenge on Lombaerts as the Zenit defender was sprinting over the halfway line.  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:45
    89 mins: Yuri Zhirkov replaces Lombaerts as Rogers gets down low to make a good save from Giuliano's long range effort.  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:47
    90 mins: We'll have three minutes of added time! Can Dundalk do it?  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:48
    90+2 mins: Dundalk are struggling to get a hold of the ball now as the time ticks away...  (Zenit 2 Dundalk 1)
  • 19:50
  • 19:59

    A one goal loss to a team of 18 internationals is a long, long way from a disgrace for Dundalk but they will be very frustrated at the fact that it was two defensive errors which cost them.

    The first being a poor pass from Shields to Gartland and the second a poor pass out from Gartland and a fortunate goalmouth scramble.  

    Given that they also hit the bar and the post Dundalk will probably come away from this feeling a little hard done by.

    However they will be heartened by the fact that Maccabi Tel-Aviv and AZ Alkmaar played out a 0-0 draw in Israel.

    That means that, with two games to go (at home to AZ and then away to Maccabi), Dundalk remain level with the Israeli on four points. Zenit have now won the group but all is still to play for for second place and a spot in the last 32.

    It's going to come right down to the wire.

    With that I shall leave you for tonight. Thanks for reading along and be sure to tune in on Sunday for the FAI Cup final between Dundalk and Cork City. Bye!