Zenit advances after draw at Porto
UCL RESULTS: DEC. 6
|Tuesday, December 6|
|Viktoria Plzen||0-2||AC Milan||Review|
|More: Europe | Champions League|
Zenit St. Petersburg clinched a first-ever berth in the knockout round of the Champions League by holding FC Porto to 0-0 on Tuesday.
The Russian club goes into the last 16 second to APOEL of Cyprus in Group G.
Two-time European champion Porto, needing a win to stay in the tournament, made most of the running at its Stadium of the Dragon but the Russian team held its nerve and goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev repeatedly denied the home team's strikers.
Zenit, sure of advancing in the competition if it got just a point in Portugal, seldom ventured upfield and rarely came close to scoring. It failed to get a single away win in the group stage.
Porto goes into the Europa League, which it won last season.
Porto hadn't missed the knockout round since the 2005-06 season. It is also unbeaten in the Portuguese league since February 2010.
Zenit rallied to defeat 10-man Porto 3-1 in St. Petersburg in September.
The showdown in the last group game to decide who would advance with already-qualified APOEL was one-sided as Porto went in pursuit of the win it needed.
Malafeev dived to his right for a reflex save to deny Djalma, then James Rodriguez tested Malafeev in the 14th with a fierce shot from the left flank. Hulk should have done better with a 27th-minute volley inside the area and had another two efforts stopped by Malafeev before the break.
In a rare Zenit foray, Danny and Danko Lazovic linked up for a charge at the Porto defense on the brink of halftime before the home defense scrambled into position.
Porto sent on Brazilian striker Kleber at halftime and stepped up the pace, with Hulk's breakaway pass going across the face of an open goal.
Rodriguez, a 20-year-old Colombia international, fired a left-foot shot just past Malafeev's left post.
The Zenit goalkeeper was repeatedly called into action as Porto pressed forward in the final stages. He leaped to his left to save a shot from Joao Moutinho in the 62nd and, with 10 minutes to go, stopped Rodriguez from short range.