Luciano Spalletti tactics worked well against FC Porto – UEFA Champions League special
The first win in the UEFA Champions League has come to St. Petersburg – the whole question is how. Indeed it was a master piece by the former Roma tactician and Zenit St. Petersburg head coach, Luciano Spalletti. Zenit performance
in the latest Champions League tie against the Portuguese club deserved 100 per cent victory.
Zenit St. Petersburg won 3-1 against FC Porto in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League- few expected such an outcome. In the group stages of the cup tournament Zenit have been drawn against Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Apoel and
Before the match, the Portuguese club were the favourites to win the respective tie but the Italian magician managed to silence the critics after claiming a big win at home.
It looks like the odd days are about to come for the Portuguese club. When they played FC Barcelona in the UEFA Super Cup, they looked scary. They had speed, technique and they looked hungry to score. But the UEFA Europa League
defending champions were the second best team on the pitch against Zenit on Wednesday. It looked like the Porto players missed the presence of their former head coach, Andre Villas Boas at the sidelines.
The St. Petersburg club showed a sincere attitude toward football and a desire to show their best qualities. If Zenit would have taken all their chances, the score would have been 5-1, 6-1 in their favour. Here it is important
to praise Spalletti’s tactics against the Portuguese giants.
“I congratulate my players. They played an excellent game. In the first half, they felt the pressure which did not allow them to display their quality. In the second half they played more calmly and fearlessly. They played in the
opponents half for majority of the time in the second half and showed a very good game. I hope this victory will give them confidence in their abilities. This is exactly what I want from them. They need to go onto the field without emotions. All of them played
fantastic football.” Luciano Spalletti was quoted as saying.
Zenit shot-stopper, Vyacheslav Malafeev was a major to play the match but Spalletti decided to play him at the eleventh hour. The former Udinese coach is known for his tactics; he played four central midfielders in the match against
Porto. Leaving Zenit proven goal scorers, Danko Lazovic and Alexander Bukharov on bench is another proof of the Italians reshuffling squad tactics.
Spalletti knew that the secret behind winning the mouth watering tie is to win the midfield area during the match. The Italian played Roman Shirokov, Viktor Fayzulin, Igor Denisov and Konstantin Zyryanov in the midfield area, giving
Miguel Danny a free agent role to assist the in-form striker, Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
Fayzulin operated successively from the right flank and was heavily involved in the making of the two goals scored by Roman Shirokov. The second half turned into a massacre for the Portuguese club, when Zenit started playing more
Zenit put their soul and heart together in order to rupture the Portuguese Liga club. It was a superb effort from Spalletti to silence the critics following their opening group stage match defeat to FC Apoel. One could well judge
the importance of the victory after looking at the smiling faces of the St. Petersburg players after the match.