Europa League preview: Zenit, Man City look to stay alive

Trailing 3-0 in their Europa League last-16 tie against FC Twente, Zenit St Petersburg face a tough task if they are to repeat their success of 2008.

The 2008 champions of the then UEFA Cup, Zenit were comprehensively outplayed in the first leg by their Dutch opponents, with a brace from Luuk de Jong and another strike from Denny Landzaat handing Twente a comfortable buffer to take to Russia on Thursday.

Zenit, however, are unbeaten in 11 European home games since their 2-1 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in 2008, and have won all six of their home European fixtures this season, giving coach Luciano Spalletti reason for hope heading into the match.

In worse news for Spalletti, his Belgian defender Nicholas Lombaerts is still recovering from a knee injury and is likely to miss the second leg.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Liverpool welcome Portuguese side Braga to Anfield needing to overhaul a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.

Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City side will be looking to score early at home against Dynamo Kiev after goals from Andriy Shevchenko and in Andriy Yarmolenko lifted the Ukrainians to a 2-0 win in the first leg.

Paris St Germain welcome Benfica to the Parc des Princes keen to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg, while Spartak Moscow host Ajax holding a 1-0 advantage from their match in Amsterdam.

CSKA Moscow travel to Portugal to meet Porto at the Estadio do Dragao trailing 1-0, while Bayer Leverkusen face a trip to Spain to play Villarreal having suffered a thrilling 3-2 defeat in the first leg at home.

And Scottish champions Rangers welcome Dutch league-leaders PSV Eindhoven to Ibrox after the sides played out a goalless draw in the Netherlands.

 


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