Return to Lyon after four years and tactical experiments of Semak
The next Eurocup season started for Russian teams is not too successful. First, in the summer they completed their performance on the international arena Arsenal and Spartak. Secondly, he failed to break into the group stage of the Champions League Krasnodar. At the same time, the southerners lost the chance to the Greek Olympiakos with a total score of 1: 6.
Thus, the honor of the country in the main European competition was to be defended only by Zenit and Lokomotiv. And to start at the group stage the first fell precisely to Petersburgers, who were on the road waiting for a confrontation with the third team of the French championship “Lyon”.
It is curious that blue-white-blue met with Olimpik quite recently - in 2015. It was then that “Zenith” for the last time took part in the main European Cup tournament of the continent. That season, the Russian team led by Andre Villas-Boas twice beat an opponent from France with a total score of 5: 1, and Artyom Dziuba scored three goals against Lyon. True, the compositions of both teams have since undergone significant changes.
To achieve success, “Zenith” was set up this time, especially since “Lyon” scored only eight points in the first five matches of the French championship, and in the last three meetings was completely without victories. However, Semak before the game uttered on-duty phrases about the opponent’s high level. In turn, the mentor of the hosts Silvigno said that in the upcoming match, his wards should score as quickly as possible.
As for the roster "Zenith", then Semak managed to surprise the fans a lot by entrusting a place on the field to two newcomers at once, who joined the team only in the last days of the transfer window. We are talking about Vyacheslav Karavaev and Jordan Osorio.
At the same time, the coaching staff of the blue-white-blue decided to bet on the scheme with three central defenders, and the company Branislav Ivanovich and Yaroslav Rakitsky in the center of defense was just Osorio. Karavaev is located on the profile right edge. But Douglas Santos unexpectedly went to Vilmar Barrios in the support zone, while Magomed Ozdoev remained in reserve.
Successful first half ending and unassigned penalty
Both teams started the match quite carefully, obviously not trying to take risks. Zenit players acted calmly, with Artyom Dziuba and Serdar Azmun fighting for the ball. Under them, Sebastian Driussi actively offered himself, who was not tied to the flank, but filled the free zones of someone else's penalty area.
Attacks of "Lyon" wards of Semak tried to stop in the bud and for the time it was possible. Truly dangerous moments at the gates of Andrei Lunev for a long time did not arise. You can only remember the blow of Bertrand Traore from the penalty area directly into the hands of the goalkeeper and a slightly inaccurate shot by the head in the performance of Marcelo after a corner. “Zenith” responded with a blow from Serdar Azmun from 20 meters to the far lower corner. Anthony Lopes in this situation with great difficulty transferred the ball to the corner.
But closer to the middle of the half, the St. Petersburg team lost the game thread for some time and almost for the first time in the match allowed the opponent to activate. At one point, the referee could even have awarded a penalty kick to the goal of the guests after playing with Osorio's hand, but as a result decided that Jordan had touched the ball unintentionally.
And soon the “Zenith” was almost left without Azmun. Trying to take the ball away from an opponent running away to someone else's penalty, the Iranian got ankle damage and immediately showed with a sign that he needed a replacement. Ozdoev set off in an instant to change clothes. But lying down a bit on the lawn, Serdar came to his senses and decided to stay on the field.
As a result, in just a few minutes, it was the Iranian who managed to open an account. After an excellent pass from Douglas from the flank, Azmun played a wall with Dziuba, burst into the penalty area and just shot into the lower left corner. At the same time, Artyom noted an elegant transfer to the partner of the outside of the foot, which left several rivals out of work at once.
Incredible miss player "Lyon" and successful substitution Semak
Unfortunately, the injury still did not allow Azmun to continue the game and at the very beginning of the second half he asked for a replacement. Instead, Ozdoev entered the field. Alas, only a couple of minutes after his appearance, Magomed earned a penalty for “Lyon”. The midfielder in his own penalty area “bought” the feint of the technical Memphis Depay and hit the Dutchman in the legs, and the judge instantly pointed to the “point”. The one-meter was implemented by Depay himself, although Lunev guessed the direction of the ball’s flight.
“Zenith” reacted to the incident without unnecessary nerves and immediately created a couple of dangerous moments at the gates of the opponent. First Driussi struck his head higher after a filing from the flank, and then Zhirkov did not get into the near nine from outside the penalty area.
“Lyon” answered with an incredible miss in the performance of Jeff Ren-Adeled. After the mistake of Rakitsky, the hosts carried out a swift attack on the right flank and led their partner to the blow, but he failed to get into the far corner from the slaughter position and frankly “forgave” Zenit.
And after a couple of dangerous attacks passed through the right side of the guests, Semak removed the tired Zhirkov from the field and instead threw Daler Kuzyaev into battle. He took his place in the middle of midfield, while Douglas sank to the flank of defense. This move allowed us to neutralize the potentially dangerous zone in the defense of Zenit.
Immediately St. Petersburg created another dangerous moment. After filing from the flank, Dziuba earned the ball and sent it with a scoop in the direction of Ozdoev. Magomed had an excellent opportunity to rehabilitate himself for the episode from the penalty spot, but from a few meters he struck his head directly into Lopez’s hands.
In the end, Semak not only released Oleg Shatov on the field, but also made tactical changes. With the release of the attacking midfielder, the Petersburg team switched to the favorite game scheme with four defenders in a line. And in the last minutes, Zenit could have snatched victory than Lyon, but the guests simply did not have enough strength to finish the assault. Nevertheless, the away draw can be called an acceptable result for the Russian team.