Rakitsky saves 10-man Zenit in Malmo and sends to the Europa League playoff

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Malmo 1-1 Zenit St. Petersburg
UEFA Champions League, Group H
Tuesday 23 November, Eleda Stadion

Goals: Malmo - Rieks 28’; Zenit - Rakitsky (pen) 90+2’
Send off: Zenit - Chistyakov 86'

RPL leaders struggled in the Swedish trip but finished there with a draw. 

Without two key players Stanislav Kritsyuk and Sardar Azmoun, who were injured, Mikhail Kerzhakov started in the net, while Artem Dzyuba was the only striker with the support from Malcom and Claudinho.

Despite Zenit’s advantage in shots on goal Malmo capitalized their first goal attempt in 1-0 lead. Soren Rieks beat Kerzhakov at the right angle. That was the first Malmo goal in the current group stage and the first in the tournament since the 2015/16 campaign.

When Aleksandr Erokhin and Andrey Mostovoy substituted Dejan Lovren and Claudino, who was booked, Zenit got more possession in the second half, and it led to a penalty, which was given after goalkeeper Johan Dahlin’s foul on Wendel. But Malmo keeper has also become a hero, stopping Dzyuba’s shot by legs. Nine minutes later Zenit’s leading striker put the ball into the net, but caught offside and VAR confirmed the referee's decision.

The final minutes were frightening with Dmitry Chistyakov’s sending off after a second yellow card, but 10-man Zenit earned the second penalty, when Dzyuba suffered elbowing from a Malmo player. This time Yaroslav Rakitsky took the ball and beat Dahlin, tying the game at one.

After keeping a draw in Sweden, Zenit earned the third place in the group and Europa League playoff spot. With Chelsea beating Juventus 4-0 in the second fixture, the English club conquered second place in the group and qualified to the Last 16. Malmo finished bottom at one point.

Next Champions League fixtures: Tuesday 8 December - Zenit vs Chelsea; Juventus vs Malmo

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