Zenit deny Lyon chance to clinch early Champions League last 16 spot
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Saint Petersburg (AFP)
Lyon missed out on a chance to seal a Champions League last 16 place with a match to spare after losing 2-0 at Zenit Saint Petersburg on Wednesday.
A victory in Group G over the Russian Premier League leaders would have claimed a knockout spot for Rudi Garcia's men but the three points for the home side, gained thanks to goals from Artem Dzyuba and Magomed Ozdoev, maintain their hopes of reaching the next round.
The French side, who sit third behind Zenit but level with the Russians on seven points, welcome Leipzig next as Zenit travel to Benfica on December 10.
Later on Wednesday German outfit Leipzig host the Portugese champions knowing a win would secure a first ever last 16 spot for Julien Nagelsmann's side in the top-tier competition.
Zenit coach Sergei Semak kept faith in the starting lineup from the weekend's 2-1 league victory over Rubin Kazan, with Dzyuba who scored that winner in that game leading the attack.
Garcia, who replaced the sacked Sylvinho in October, was without injured midfielder Thiago Mendes and ill winger Martin Terrier after beating Nice on Saturday as 16-year-old attacking midfielder Rayan Cherki was named on the bench.
The best of the early chances fell to Sardar Azmoun on 35 minutes after Daler Kuzayev and Joachim Andersen were shown yellow cards in the opening half an hour.
Iran forward Azmoun, broke through the French defence but his chipped shot hit the post before he was brought down by Anthony Lopes, with VAR deciding against awarding a penalty.
Dzybua went one better than Azmoun seven minutes later to claim a lead for the Russian outfit.
The Russia international headed in from a Douglas Santos corner as Lyon protested with referee Daniele Orsato for Dzybua's tussle with Marcelo in the penalty area.
Captain Leo Dubois and fellow-wing back Marcal were shown yellow cards by Orsato for their complaints.
Semak's men controlled a lacklustre second-half and Ozdoev made sure of all three points with his third goal of the season in the 84th minute.
Lyon have three Ligue 1 games before hosting Leipzig as Zenit host Spartak and Dynamo Moscow in the league before the trip Portugal next month.
© 2019 AFP