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Zenit, Saint-Etienne grab first leg win

Latest update : 2009-02-18

Saint-Etienne may be having a shaky season at home, but they're certainly enjoying their ride in the UEFA Cup, as their 3-1 win at Olympiakos proved on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Russia's Zenit St Petesburg enjoyed a 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart.

AFP - St Etienne's 3-1 victory at Olympiakos here on Wednesday marked a return to free-scoring form in Europe 33 years after reaching the European Cup final.

The current team, in the French league relegation zone, hardly compare with the Michel Platini-led virtuosos of the 70's but goals from Brazilian Ilan, Geoffrey Dernis and France international Bafetimbi Gomis allowed them to dream of a clash with AC Milan in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.

This season is St Etienne's first foray into Europe in 26 years and, far from the 5-0, Platini-inspired thrashing of Hamburg in the last 16 of this competition in the 1980/81 season, coach Alain Perrin can be thankful goals flowed freely in this first leg.

Lost possession by Olympiakos's French defender Didier Domi, who crazily tried to dribble the ball out of his own penalty area, was picked up by St Etienne's Paulo Machado who fed Ilan in the 12th minute, who netted for his fourth goal in this season's competition.

Dernis put St Etienne two goals ahead in the 43rd minute though Olympiakos captain Predrag Djordjevic pulled a goal back from a 63rd minute penalty for a foul on Cedric Varrault. Gomis added a third for St Etienne in injury time to silence the crowd at the Karaiskakis stadium.

Bayern Munich's Franz Roth scored the only goal in the 1976 European Cup final against St Etienne to give them a third consecutive title, immediately after Ajax had managed the same feat.

Date created : 2009-02-18