NICOSIA - Two goals in three minutes by
Gustavo Manduca and Ailton allowed APOEL Nicosia to snatch a 2-1
win over Zenit St Petersburg in their opening Champions League
Group G match on Tuesday.
Konstantin Zyryanov fired Zenit ahead against the run of
play in the 63rd minute with a low shot but the Russians were
ahead of the Cypriots for just 10 minutes.
APOEL swiftly rebounded when Manduca levelled after a
scramble and Ailton sparked wild celebrations among the 18,000
APOEL fans by finding the net just minutes later.
Zenit's Bruno Alves was sent off in the 76th minute.
APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic said the result exceeded his
"I would be exaggerating if I said we had high hopes in this
group, with these opponents," he told reporters. "But we
deserved to win and my players played well."
Zenit FC tried to control the tempo of the game but failed.
"They were a very fast team," said Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti
"Now we have to try to address some issues and do
better in the coming games."
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