Champions League: Atlético 3 – 1 Zenit

A perfect return to Europe's finest cup competition for the Rojiblancos

Villa celebrates with Miranda and Arda(clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Villa celebrates with Miranda and Arda
(clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Atlético celebrated their return to the Champions League with an emphatic victory over Russian vice-champions Zenit.  Against an opposing team featuring five defenders and Hulk, the Rojiblancos managed to score three times and concede only once.

In the absence of Atlético’s top scorer, Miranda, Arda, and Léo Baptistão took care of their team’s goal production, while familiar face Hulk scored the opposition’s only goal.

Neither team could impose themselves on the game in the opening phase, with chances few and far between, as both sides gave away very little space in midfield.

The Colchoneros, without powerhouse Diego Costa, who was replaced by Adrián, played many short passing exchanges around the Zenit box, but were unable to create anything.

Opportunities only appeared in the form of long distance shots which either went wide — especially when Hulk attempted them — or, at the other end, were easily parried by the Zenit goalkeeper.

The game looked set to remain goalless going into half-time until, five minutes before the break, the unmarked Miranda headed in a corner-kick by Koke at the near-post.

A much deserved goal, the Brazilian’s opener rewarded the Rojiblancos for their positive approach against an opposition comfortable with sitting back.

But at the start of the second half, the tables were turned, as Atleti seemed content with their slim lead and allowed Zenit, who had substituted a midfielder for a defender, to pass around the ball.

The Russians came close to equalising when, on the hour mark, their forward Kerzhakov’s header forced Rojiblanco custodian Courtois to make a diving save.

And a little later, they succeeded. A successful Zenit break culminated in Hulk blasting an unstoppable effort into the top corner of the Belgian’s goal.

Zenit grew more confident, and the game seemed to be turning in their favour, with Kerzhakov hitting the bar with a free kick.

However, only minutes after the equaliser, Atlético restored their advantage, with the goal appearing yet again from a Koke set piece.

George Resurrection’s free-kick was parried away by Lodygin, but his defenders were unable to clear, allowing Arda to come in and score from close range.

Afterwards, Atlético took firm hold of proceedings and got a number of opportunities to increase their lead, with Lodygin having to spring in action to stop Villa’s free kick, as well as Godín heading over the bar.

In the closing stages, substitute Léo Baptistão set the final score, only a minute after replacing the injured Adrián.

He picked up a pass from Arda that seemed to be intended for Villa, which caught the Zenit defence off balance, allowing him to slot home Atleti’s third of the night.

The Russians almost got an undeserved second goal in extra time, but Courtois again produced some fine Thibauting to deny Ansaldi.

Their 3-1 victory sees Atlético move top of their group G, ahead of Porto who beat Austria Wien 0-1 away, courtesy of a Lucho González goal.

Atlético Zenit St Petersburg
Atlético 31 Zenit St Petersburg
Miranda 40'Hulk 58'
Arda Turan 64' 
Baptistão 80' 
Competition UEFA Champions League
Location Vicente Calderon
Date 18 September 2013
Kick Off 20:45

Team Lineups

Atlético
Courtois
Juanfran
Miranda
Godin
Filipe
Mario
Gabi
Koke (89')
Arda (86')
Adrian (79')
Villa
Substitutes used
Baptistão (79')
Raul Garcia (86')
C Rodriguez (89')
Zenit St Petersburg
Lodygin
Smolnikov
Lomaberts
Neto (46')
Hubocan
Ansaldi
Zyryanov (74')
Witsel
Hulk (85')
Kerzhakov
Hulk
Substitutes used
Shatov (46')
Arshavin (74')
Bystrob (85')

Match Stats

Possession
4654
Shots
1910
On Target
115
Corners
66
Fouls
2013
Yellow Cards
14
Red Cards
00
  • jeronamo

    I didn’t get a chance to see the game but this article makes me feel as tho I did.. Nice victory and I’m glad the lads got some of that champions league experience

  • starvs

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  • GreekRojiblanco(piserakos)

    we could win easier if didn’t stayed that back at the beginning of the second half…. great game… nice goal from leo… adrian couldn’t play well with villa they don’t really suit… it’s same that wonderkid courtois isn’t ours one more great game from him… our back looked decend at the goal mario and gabi were out of position(i think the only time this year)… arda was great and also our boy koke… now we face valladolid… aupa aleti…
    by the way i thing against porto garcia is going to play

  • farhan

    it is going … well….
    keep calm and defeat em all …….

  • Pantic#10

    @Nick Poskitt: Wasn’t Hulk to hit the bar instead of Kerzakhov? i’m pretty sure was the Hulk, or am i wrong?
    @Piserakos: agree with you, Adrian played well (far from his best, but better from last year) but He and Villa must work on their understanding.
    as i said in previous posts, i’d start with RG8 instead Adrian, Raoul can give us powerful shots from long range and head-kicks, and more pressure in mid-field.

    Zenit def and midfielder kicked hard Villa & co., Adrian took a terrible header!!
    Spalletti is changed (in worse after Rome), have you seen his faces? ahhaha looks like he’s always saying “oh my god my players are such stupid and skill less”. maybe you’re the problem 😉
    There’s a big difference between him and Cholo; Cholo always spurs his players, Spalletti always moans.

  • Pantic#10

    oh and again the stats says that we have less possession, but more control of the game and shots than our opponents:

  • Robel

    @PANTIC#10

    It looked like Hulk would take the free kick, but Kerzhakov surprised us and hit it. Watch it again.

  • Pantic#10

    @Robel: ops sorry…wow he really surprised me 🙂 must change my glassess eheheh

    very unlucky Adrian: right zygomatic arch fracture with collapse
    Suerte Perfect 7, hope you recover fast.

  • Chewie

    Zenith wasn’t that bad. I’d be glad for them to survive the group stage.

  • kris

    WE HAVE EXTENDED ARDA TURAN’S CONTRACT UNTIL JUNE 2017.. WHO ELSE IS AS HAPPY AS I AM RIGHT NOW?? LOVE CHOLO AND CAMINERO AT THIS MOMENT!!

  • rojiblancodk

    Important victory! I did, however, miss Diego Costa up front – he provides another attacking dimension.

    With Costa out for the next match as well, I believe we should try with Baptistao from the beginning. He’s god damn promising.

  • Will

    First of all, pretty cool the new WP template. This guy Mike is really talented! The mobile version really rocks 🙂
    Just like ourselves, it’s always interesting how smart you can be with few money and how nonsense you can be with a lot of it.
    Miranda came free, Arda for €12million and Batistão for €7 million (€19 millions/total). Zenit got Hulf for €46 millions, Witsel for €40 million (€86 million/total).

  • GreekRojiblanco(piserakos)

    unfortunately adrian is injured at his colarbonne and he will have a surgery… they talk about 3weeks… yes will that’s fantastic! arda renew his contract he will earn 3mill per year and he will have a buy-out cause at 40mill.. goood work

  • Kris

    I was hoping the buyout clause be little higher!!

  • Ty Gambo

    40m is pretty high already haha

    Good to hear he wants to stay.

  • GreekRojiblanco(piserakos)

    40m is high enough… if there is an offer for 40m me myself i’m going to call a taxi and give him the tickets at his hands salut him and tell him goodbay….

  • Ty Gambo

    I wouldn’t offer him for 40m, but if he wishes to depart, I’d accept the amount, easily.

  • Ty Gambo

    PS, Zenith has two Hulks? :0

  • Dircil

    @will: hulk is arguably worth every peny zenit paid for his transfer. I consider the transfer of Hulk a fair bargain. If u put him in a team, say Atletico, he’ll turn out a goalscoring machine unarguably. From my own view, he’s better than diego costa atm, unarguably. My anticipation is that costa will grow up to the playing style of hulk in a couple of years or even surpass him unless a major injury happens to him.