Zenit advances in CL despite 4-1 loss in Vienna

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm •  Published: December 11, 2013

VIENNA (AP) — Zenit St. Petersburg advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League despite slumping to a 4-1 defeat at already eliminated Austria Vienna on Wednesday.

Zenit finished second in Group G and qualified with a record-low six points, one clear of Porto, which lost 2-0 at group winners Atletico. A former two-time champion, Porto will continue in the Europa League.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov put Zenit ahead in the 35th before Philipp Hosiner leveled in the closing seconds of the first half. Goals from Tomas Jun in the 48th, Hosiner three minutes later and Roman Kienast in injury time gave Austria Vienna the win — the first for an Austrian team in the competition in almost 13 years.

"We deserved this victory though the scoreline is a bit flattering," Austria coach Nenad Bjelica said. "Zenit didn't play at their best but we did well to punish them."

Before kick-off, Greenpeace protesters entered the pitch carrying a banner, protesting against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic by Champions League sponsor Gazprom. Referee Aleksandar Stavrev of Macedonia interrupted the match for two minutes in the first half after firecrackers went off and fireworks were thrown from the Russian fan sector onto lower stands.

Zenit dominated possession from the start but Austria earned the first chance in the sixth minute when Hosiner was set up by Jun and forced Zenit goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin into a diving safe.

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