Manchester United 1-2 Zenit St. Petersburg – Super Cup – Live Blog

Manchester United (Vidic 73′) 1-2 Zenit St. Petersburg (Pogrebnyak 44′, Danny 59′)
Stadium: Stade Louis II, Monaco.
Date: Friday 29 August 2008
Competition: UEFA Super Cup
Kickoff: 19:45 BST, 14:45 EST

UEFA Cup holders Zenit St. Petersburg shocked reigning Champions League winners Manchester United to win the UEFA Super Cup. Soccerlens had the action live! Click below to read the live-blog.

Match Preview:

For Manchester United and Zenit St. Petersburg, the Super Cup will be a chance to add to the trophy cabinet while evaluating their early-season form.  While both sides will want to rest some of their top players and give some of their more inexperienced players a chance to show their stuff, the Super Cup should still contain plenty of interesting subplots.

Take Zenit St. Petersberg’s star forward Andrei Arshavin.  Arshavin had a dream 2008 season.  He won the Russian Premier League.  He won the UEFA Cup, earning Man of the Match honors during the UEFA Cup Final.  He dazzled during Euro 2008, establishing himself as one of the hottest young players in the world.  He held out hope for a dream move to Barcelona, but his team priced him out.  Arshavin’s desire to move to Tottenham Hotspur fell through for similar reasons.  As such, he’s in much the same situation that Dimitar Berbatov finds himself.  He’s a want-away forward who thought he would have plenty of options on the transfer market, only to be stuck with his old team.

Too bad Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be on the pitch, otherwise the two of them could commiserate.  Manchester United won’t have him, nor will they have Michael Carrick.  Owen Hargreaves could make his season debut in this match, and Ryan Giggs might be ready to go as well.  Otherwise, it will probably be the same mixture of seasoned veterans and unproven youngsters that have characterized Manchester United’s early season matches against Newcastle and Portsmouth.

Will Arshavin use the Super Cup as an opportunity to audition for Sir Alex Ferguson and the other big clubs that are sure to be watching?  Will Owen Hargreaves finally suit up and show everyone what he’s capable of?  Will anyone pay attention to Zenit’s other star players, like Pavel Pogrebnyak, who was Zenit’s leading scorer in the UEFA Cup, Portuguese starlet Danny Alves, or Russian national midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov?  Is it wise to turn a bunch of rich, young professional footballers loose in a part of Monaco that’s mere minutes away from Monte Carlo?


Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville (captain), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Anderson, Scholes, Nani, Rooney, Tevez.
Subs: Kuszczak, Brown, Park, O’Shea, Gibson, Campbell, Possebon.

Wow. That’s pretty much Man Utd.’s top team. Looks like they were serious when they said they were going to go for the win. No Hargreaves for Man Utd. Either that means he picked up another injury or they’re saving him for Liverpool. As expected, Neville gets the start over Brown while Nani will start on the wing. Anderson’s played a lot of football in the last few weeks. How much will he have in the tank?

Zenit St. Petersburg: Malafeev, Anyukov, Križanac, Puygrenier, Šírl, Zyryanov, Tymoshchuk (captain), Danny, Denisov, Dominguez, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Čontofalský, Radimov, Kim, Fatih Tekke, Arshavin, Shirokov, Fayzulin

Well, no Arshavin in the starting lineup. Let the rumors begin. Maybe he’s flying to London after the match and taking a look at Dimitar Berbatov’s house. As expected, new acquisition Danny will make the start for Zenit. Faith Tekke, who helped set up the second goal of the UEFA Cup final, will also come off the bench.


90′ + 4 – Vidic wins the ball and Man Utd. go on the attack.  Zenit knock it away and there’s the whistle!  Zenit win the Supercup and Roman Abramovich and Guus Hiddick are celebrating in their luxury box.

90′ + 3 – Another free kick chance for Man Utd.  Nani is over the ball.  It’s a long cross to Ferdinand, and he can’t control it.  Ferdinand is glaring at Nani and I’m sure he won’t be the only one when this match is over.  Rooney and Park try the one-two, but Zenit get there first and look to try and run it out.

90′ – Four minutes of added time.

89′ – Scholes does his best Diego Maradona impersonation as he spikes Brown’s cross into the net.  That’s a second yellow for him and he’s off.  On the replay, he had pretty good volleyball form on that one.  Maybe he can hit the beach circuit when his career is over.

88′ – Ferdinand tries to send in a cross but Anyukov knocks it away for a corner.  Oh wait, Ferdinand was offsides.  Never mind.

87′ – Once again, Nani’s corner is poor and Zenit clear it from danger.   Nani’s been terrible today.  On the attack, Zenit have a chance to ice the game as Danny and Arshavin play a great one-two.  Danny is open in the box as Vidic falls down, but Danny had his back to goal.  He tries to spin and shoot, and it’s over the bar.  If he had taken his time, he would have scored.

86′ – Brown with a great cross into the box that O’Shea gets his head on.  Malafeev has to make a great save to concede the corner.

85′ – Nani infuriates Man Utd. fans once again as he holds it in the box, nearly gives it away, gets it back and then uncorks a wild shot with his body moving away from the goal.  Needless to say, it’s wide of the mark.

84′ – Great goalkeeping by Malafeev as Rooney splits the defense with a great cross that Park nearly gets on the end of.  Malafeev gets there first and he and Park collide.

82′ – Evra gets run over by Tymoshchuk and Man Utd. will have a free kick outside the box.  Nani with a better cross this time and Rooney tries to flick it, but he can’t get enough on it.  Park with the cross into the box for Rooney, but he can’t get high enough for the header attempt.  He tries to get it back, though, and almost fouls Malafeev.  Zenit clear it from danger, though, and now Denisov is on the ground.

79′ – Zenit on the attack now.  Pogrebnyak tried to take on Ferdinand, but Ferdinand was up to it.  He sends it out to Danny, and Danny tries to shoot, but it’s blocked by Vidic.  The ball is up in the air, but Van der Sar gets to it.

78′ – Zenit are knocking it around and they seem content to run out the clock.  They lose it, though, and Man Utd. are on the attack.  Rooney and Park try the one-two and Malafeev just gets there to stop Park from shooting it, otherwise it would have been 2-2.  Great touch from Rooney to spring Park on that play.

77′ – Nani sends it to the far post, and it’s easily handled by the Zenit defense.  Not sure why Nani didn’t go for goal there.  We know he likes to shoot.

76′ – Arshavin tries to pick out Pogrebnyak, but it’s long and Man Utd. clear it away.  Park goes down right outside the box and Man Utd. will have a good chance here.  Meanwhile, Brown will come on for Neville.  Hate to say it, but Neville looked a step slow today.

74′ – Tevez gets booked for a foul on Tymoshchuk.  Seemed harmless enough.

73′ – GOAL!  On the corner, Nani sends it to Rooney.  He crosses it to Tevez, who is at the far post.  Tevez gets Malafeev to commit and then unselfishly gives it to Vidic, and Vidic puts it in for the goal

72′ – Nani wins a corner for his side.

71′ – Radimov comes in for Križanac.  Scholes fouls Denisov.  No card for Scholes, though, who is already on a yellow.

70′ – Arshavin tries to work on Ferdinand, but he can’t get around him.  His shot is out for a goal kick.

69′ – O’Shea gets a good pass into the box from Tevez and he shoots it.  It’s deflected out for a corner, though.  On the corner, Scholes gets it on the top of the box and goes for the goal.  It’s definitely in his range, but it goes over the bar.

68′ – Danny with another good move to get around O’Shea, but he runs out of space and it goes out for a goal kick.

67′ – Arshavin tries to spring Danny down the left flank, but it’s long and not even Danny can catch up to it.

66′ – Tevez makes a great move that catches Križanac flat-footed.  He unleashes a hard shot that goes over the bar.

65′ – Tevez works tirelessly against Tymoshchuk to win back possession.  He gets it to O’Shea who gets a great chance on goal that forces Malafeev to make a great save.  The ball goes to Park and Malafeev makes a great save on him.  The ball goes up for grabs and O’Shea tries to nod it towards goal, but he’s too far away and Zenit clear it.

64′ – Nothing doing on the corner as Zenit knock it away and Evra tries the long cross to Tevez that Malafeev easily takes.

63′ – Puygrenier is off and Shirokov is on for Zenit.  Food for thought: Zenit have a 59%-41% edge in possession.  Rooney gets the pass from Tevez and draws the corner.

62′ – Cristiano Ronaldo looks like he’s dozing off in the stands.  Must have had a rough night last night.

60′ – Anderson and Fletcher are off and Park and O’Shea are on.  Not sure if that’s really going to help United here.

59′ – GOAL!  Danny scores after making a great run from the center of the field.  He burns by Neville and then turns Ferdinand inside out.  Vidic can’t get there in time to help and Van der Sar is easily beaten.  Wow.  That’s one of the best goals you’ll ever see.

58′ – Fletcher makes a good move to keep the ball from going out and he sends it to Tevez.  Tevez with a  shot that’s well over the bar.

57′ – Tevez gets thrown to the ground and wants the foul.  No call and Tevez then pounces on a loose ball and knocks Arshavin to the ground.  No call on that, either.  Looks like they’re letting them play.

54′ – Tymoshchuk with a great long-range effort that Van der Sar has to punch away for the save.  Tymoshchuk tries to follow, but is called for a foul.

53′ – Vidic and Pogrebnyak collide and both are down.  Tempers are flaring as Tymoshchuk accuses Vidic of leading with the elbow.  Anderson gets a yellow, presumably for dissent.

52′ – Park Ji-Sung is warming up.  Rooney gets it and makes a nice move towards the box.  He works on Puygrenier and goes for goal.  It’s wide of the post, but a much better effort for Rooney.

51′ – Arshavin works on Fletcher.  He creates some room and shoots, but it takes a deflection. Van der Sar is able to make the save, though.

50′ – Tevez works hard down the right, but he loses it out of bounds for the goal kick.

49′ – Tevez tries to pick out Fletcher, but they have a little mix up and Zenit take it.

48′ – Denisov with the deep cross that Van der Sar punches away.  Man Utd. go on the attack.

47′ – Arshavin shows off his skill and immediately drives his price up.  He gets around Vidic easily and tries to cross it to Pogrebnyak, but Ferdinand clears.  Man Utd. on the break and Tevez crosses into the box for Fletcher.  He’s marked, though, and Zenit clear it.  Rooney was wide open down the left, but Tevez didn’t see him.

– Man Utd. kick off and here we go!  Arshavin is on for Zenit for Dominguez.  Hmmm.  I wonder how Tottenham feels about that.

Well, Zenit really took it to Manchester United in the first half and deserved that goal.  Man Utd. had some good spells of possession, but never really looked like they were going to score.  Zenit exploited the right flank time and time again and generated a number of great scoring chances.  Man Utd. can’t seem to get their offense flowing and their backline looks uncharacteristically shaky.  They’ll have to attack more in the second half, and that could expose their backline some more.

45′ + 1
– There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime.

– One minute of added time and Arshavin is warming up.  Tempers flare as Scholes tackles Dominguez from behind and gets carded.  Some shoving ensues, but nothing more.

– GOAL!  Pogrebnyak tries to cross it into the box, and it looks like it hits Ferdinand’s arm.  Evra gets it and loses possession.  Anyukov crosses into the box.   There’s no one in the area, but Neville knocks it out anyway.  On the corner, the ball goes toward the near post, Denisov flicks it towards the far post and Pogrebnyak knocks it in.

– Danny is wide open down the left flank.  He sends it back out and Zenit get it to Pogrebnyak.  He easily gets around Neville and crosses it to Danny.  Danny’s header out, and it doesn’t matter since he’s called for the foul.  Neville got burned pretty badly there.

– Tevez with a good effort to keep possession and he gets it to Fletcher.  Fletcher with a poor cross and he gives it away.

– Man Utd. build up their attack and Nani ruins it by taking a bad shot from long-distance.  Prepare to hear that statement a lot this year.

– Ferdinand goes up for the ball and hits Pogrebnyak in the back of the head, and the Russian is down on the ground.  He makes his way off the field, though, and looks like he’ll be fine.

– Neville called for the foul on Pogrebnyak and Zenit have another free kick in the same area as before, only a little further out.  Dominguez takes it again, this time, he sends it into the box and it’s toward Križanac, who’s deep in the box.  Van der Sar cuts off his angle, though and makes the save.  It then bounces off Križanac for the goalkick.  Very poor defending from Man Utd. once again.

– Man Utd. clear the corner and Tevez gets sprung for the counterattack.  Tevez with some great skill to keep it play both down the sideline and down the goal-line.  He crosses it into the box to Rooney, but Rooney can’t handle it cleanly.  He shoots it and Malafeev makes the save.

– Anyukov tries the one-two down the right flank once again, but Evra plays it well this time.  Pogrebnyak gets it and he has his back to the goal.  Ferdinand is all over him like a cheap suit and Pogrebnyak goes down, but no penalty.  It goes out for a corner.

– Neville tries to cross it into the box, but Zenit knock it out for the corner.  Nani sends in the corner.  It’s towards Fletcher, but he can’t get a head on it and Zenit clear it from danger.  Anderson tries the long-range effort, but it’s well over the bar.  At least Man Utd. seem to be settling into things a little bit.  They’ve had a pretty good spell of possession these last few minutes.

– Tevez with a great run and gets behind Sirl.  He passes it to Nani, who tries to send it to Fletcher.  Fletch is a little late getting into the box, and Zenit clear it.  Or maybe Zenit were watching Fletch “The Goal Machine” extra carefully.

– Nani with a long pass to Neville that looks like it’s going out.  Neville with a great effort to keep it in and he crosses it into the box.  Malafeev goes for it and he’s fouled by Rooney.  Malafeev then gives Wayne the stink-eye.

– Nani with a nice flick to spring Evra down the left flank.  Evra tries a cross into the box, but he shanks it and sends it into the cheap seats.

– Fletcher is fouled in the open field by Tymoshchuk.  Fletcher tries a cross into the corner, but Rooney can only manage a weak header.  That’s one thing about United’s attack.  They won’t get on the end of too many of those header opportunities.  Unless they get that Berbatov guy, of course.

– Man Utd. try to build up their attack, but they just can’t break down the Zenit defense.  Great work by Zenit to keep Man Utd.’s offense out of sync.

– Dominguez takes it and it’s a great effort that just curls wide of the post.  Wow.  Zenit came to play today.

– Danny tries to cross it into the box to Pogrebnyak.  Fletcher with a good clearance, but Zenit get it back.  Anderson then fouls Denisov, giving Zenit a good free kick opportunity from about 30 yards out or so.

– Van der Sar with another bad clearance and it’s back to Zenit.  Pogrebnyak gets it inside the box, but he’s well defended and he has to send it out.  Nani and Evra have some more issues as they seem to get in each other’s way.  The ball goes to Tymoshchuk, and he tries the long-range shot from about 25 yards or so, and it’s well over the bar.  Looks like Man Utd. are looking shaky in defense tonight.

– Van der Sar with a clearance and he shanks it badly out of bounds.

– Tevez tries a long-distance shot, but Malafeev handles it easily.

– On the corner, it’s into the box and Van der Sar catches it.

– Evra called for a foul on Danny.  Zenit try to build up their attack, once again working the right side.  Once again, it works as Danny gets sprung on the one-two and makes a deep run into the box.  He tries to cross it to the center, but Ferdinand knocks it out for the corner.  Ferdinand is yelling at his defense as Evra and Nani were once again caught out of position.

– Evra wins a corner.  They go short and Nani tries a cross into the box, but it’s cleared by Zenit.  Rooney gets it and Tymoshchuk hits him with a thunderous, but legal, tackle.  Even Rooney had to respect that one.

– Zenit on the attack as Pogrebnyak tries to spring Dominguez.  Ferdinand is there to put a stop to that, though, and he taps it back, safely, to Van der Sar.

– Fletcher tries a long-ball to Rooney, but it’s well short of the mark as Križanac takes it.

– Neville throws in to Rooney, who makes a nice move to create some space on the right flank.  Rooney tries to cross into the box, but Malafeev easily intercepts it.

8′ – Fletcher crosses into the box to no one.  Evra wins it back, though with a great touch, but then gives it away.

7′ – Danny gets his first touch of the match.  Hmm… young talented attacking midfielder from Portugal.  How did Man Utd. miss out on him?  I guess they really miss Quieroz.  Anyukov beats Evra and Nani down the right flank.  He passes back to Pogrebnyak, who is wide open in the box.  He shanks his effort over the bar, though.  He should have done better than that.  Man Utd. are getting exposed on that right flank.  Evra seemed to be a step slow on both plays.

6′ – Great service into Dominguez from Denisov, who’s operating on the left wing.  Dominguez can’t control it, though, and Van der Sar takes it.

3′ – Zenit on the attack.  Anyukov gets behind the defense and makes a great move into the box.  He crosses to the center and Ferdinand gets the faintest of touches on it to clear it away from danger.

1′ – Zenit kicks off and here we go!  Zyranov gives it away early and Man Utd. build up their attack.  Scholes with the long pass to Fletcher, who’s open down the right flank.  He gets a great touch on it and sends it to Rooney.  They move it around to Tevez, but Tevez loses it.

0′ – Apparently, this stadium is built above a garage.  Well, Monaco is so small that I guess they have to conserve space as much as possible.

0′ – After hearing all week that Hargreaves should be ready to go, it’s mildly surprising that he’s been omitted from the squad.  Too bad.  I think Man Utd. will need him against Liverpool and Chelsea, and this match would have been a great opportunity for him to get his legs under him a little bit.  Oh well.

0′ – Welcome to Soccerlens’ coverage of the Super Cup between Zenit St. Petersburg and Manchester United!  As always, I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger today.

Match Review:

Well, not much to be happy about if you’re a Manchester United fan. They were thoroughly outplayed by Zenit St. Petersburg. They looked shaky on defense, the normally reliable Edwin Van der Sar had some tense moments, and they had trouble generating chances on offense. At some point, their excuses will only go so far. Sure, they don’t have Cristiano Ronaldo. Sure, they miss Carrick. Sure, they need someone like Berbatov. But the bottom line is that they still have plenty of world-class talent and they should not have been outplayed as badly as they were during this match. They’ll need to figure it out by next week when they travel to Liverpool.

As for Zenit, they could have something special this year if they keep playing like this. Their defense stood up to Man Utd.’s vaunted forwards and Malafeev had a great game in goal. With Danny, Pogrebnyak, and Dominguez, they have plenty of offensive firepower. If they can hold on to Arshavin, then they could really be dangerous. They’ve played a lot of big-time matches in Europe, now, so they aren’t going to sneak up on anyone in the Champions League. Still, they’ll be a tough match for the big-boys of Europe.

Man of the Match:

Anatoliy Tymoschuk

Plenty of candidates to choose from. Danny’s goal was one of the best you’ll ever see and should be a staple on highlight reels for years to come. Pogrebnyak scored the opener and created several additional chances that might have blown this match wide open. For Man Utd., Carlos Tevez was one of the few guys who showed up as he worked tirelessly all over the field, winning balls in midfield and creating chances on offense. However, Zenit’s captain gets the nod here. Tymoschuk really controlled the action in the midfield, making a number of great tackles to disrupt Man Utd.’s offense. Matches are usually won or lost in the midfield, and Tymoschuk helped his team win this match by out-playing his more celebrated counterparts from Manchester United.

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