Sergey Astakhov. Players Zenit St. Petersburg on Tuesday will hold the first round match of the group stage of the Champions League in season 2019/20. Encounter against the French Lyon will start at 19:55 GMT.
Englishman Michael Oliver was appointed chief referee. To help him will be his compatriots-assistant referees Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett fourth official – Andre Marriner, videophonic referee – Craig Pawson, assistant Videophone referee – Chris Kavanagh.
Zenit have not played in the Champions League three and a half years. The last match the team played on 9 March 2016 in the 1/8 final match at their old stadium “Petrovsky” “blue-white-blue” under the leadership of Andre Villas-Boas lost to Benfica (Portugal) 1:2 and the sum of the two meetings concluded the campaign for the trophy.
The following three European Cup draw “Zenith” has spent in the Europa League, and the team was led by three different coaches – Mircea Lucescu, Roberto Mancini and Axel witsel. The Russian specialist at the end of last season was able to return to St. Petersburg the Cup of the champion of Russia and the Champions League. In the draw rivals of “Zenit” in the group, G steel “Lyon”, “Benfica” and the German “Leipzig”.
“We understand our level and, of course, it will be very hard. The group is completely unpredictable, any team can get first place. We are not very happy about this lot, but all the other teams surely were glad to Zenit in the first basket. Each team has significant weight in Europe. We will be very, very difficult”, – quotes the Semak official site of “Zenit”.
For “Zenith” and “Lyon” meeting on Tuesday will become the first in the history of confrontation. In 2015/16, the Russian team was twice stronger than the French in the group stage of the Champions League victory in St. Petersburg (3:1) and Lyon (2:0). Three of the five goals scored by Artem Dzyuba. In addition to forward from the existing structure of “Zenit” in those games on the field left only goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov and midfielder Oleg Shatov.
Familiar with Lyon and the player of defence “Zenith” Emanuel mammana of playing for the “Olympians” in 2016-2017, after which he became a football “blue-white-blue”. “I think Lyon is the strongest team in our group. Spent a great year, left a lot of memories. I know some players who are still there are, and this should help me in preparing for the matches. Tell Sergei Bogdanovich about their strengths,” said the Argentine footballer.
“Zenit” will be shown on five continents
To the opening match in the European Cup Zenit players should be in a good mood. In the last two games of the championship of Russia beat Spartak Moscow and the Tula Arsenal, and the team, conceding just four goals in nine rounds, shares the first place in the standings with the “Krasnodar” (20 points).
According to the Semak, Lyon has players of a high level, this is a well balanced team with serious potential. “Problems in quality performers from the head coach, “Lyon” definitely not. We will play as planned. As for long shots, the first thing you need to have performers who can hit from afar. In Lyon they are. We need to avoid as much as possible impacts of these areas,” – said the head coach of the Petersburg command.
Standings “Lyon” in comparison with “Zenith” looks more modest. After two victories with a total score of 9:0 at the start of the season the team was the first, but the ensuing defeat and two draws dropped her down to eighth place in the ranking in the French championship.
The head coach, “Lyon”, in the zero years of XXI century were hegemonic in France and won all seven of their League titles at the end of last season was the Brazilian, and there were top-class. 45-year-old specialist, well known for playing for Arsenal and the Spanish “Barcelona” which has never worked alone. His last place of work was the post of assistant coach of the Brazilian national team.
“Zenith” – a difficult opponent. This is a very fast, skilled team that is great in defense concedes few. In the “Zenith” you know Douglas Santos. He’s young and recent progresses that can play right and left. (Artem) Dzyuba is also a great football player. “Zenith” leading in the championship. It won’t be easy, but we will play to win,” – said at the press-conference the head coach of the French club, there were top-class.
As for the main referee, then Oliver worked twice on matches “Zenith” in the 1/16 finals of the Europa League. In 2017, the “Zenith” on departure with the account 0:2 lost to Belgian Anderlecht game in the second match (elimination from the tournament), and in 2019 home win over Turkish side Fenerbahce in the first game of 1/16 finals (pass on).
Match “Lyon” – “Zenit”, according to the official website of the Russian club, will show in 126 countries around the world. To see football people from five of the six continents of the planet Earth: Eurasia, North and South America, Africa and Australia. No TV signal will remain the only inhabitants of Antarctica.