Zenit is on the verge of reaching the Champions League groups once again after winning the first leg in Portugal. It should be nothing more than a formality for the Russians to defeat Pacos Ferreira in Sankt Petersburg, in what is arguably the most lopsided fixture in the playoffs stage.
Bet: Zenit -1.5 goals
Odds: Bet365 1.89
Zenit used a single striker but with Arshavin and Danny in the midfield, it felt like having three players in the attack. They rendered useless the home field advantage and took the initiative from the first minute, only to widen the gap in the second half. What’s surprising is the fact that a midfielder scored a hat trick and it was none of the aforesaid players but Shirokov. He is expected to feature in the starting formation tonight taking his place in the center of the field and this is the player to watch for in Sankt Petersburg.
Pacos Ferreira is mired in a four-game losing streak and scored a single goal over the span while conceding nine. One reason for this meltdown can be found in the transfers made in the season break, because the team lost most of the players that helped it finish on the podium last season. The Portuguese lack the experience to compete in decisive games and don’t have the strength to offset a three goals handicap, being more likely to surrender without a fight.
To say that Pacos Ferreira is fighting an uphill battle in Russia would be an understatement, because everything is lost for the Portuguese. Zenit plays mostly for the fans but they don’t need their best players to give everything on the field to cover a spread of -1.5 goals. Bet365 has odds of 1.89 for this outcome and it would be a damn shame not to capitalize on them.