Our football match prediction:
Zenit face a difficult task in Thursday’s football match against Utrecht. The Zenitchiki need to overcome a one-goal deficit in the tie Europa League tie against the Eredivisie side, but that is easier said than done. The Russian side play well in front of home fans and it has to be noted that they rolled over Akhmat Grozny (4-0) in their last home game in the national championship. Roberto Mancini’s troops failed to impress in the 1-0 loss to Utrecht, but seeing that the Italian tactician has a number of top-class players to choose from, we predict that the Russians will advance to the Europa League group stages. Utrecht did well to beat Zenit at home, but their away record in European competitions is anything but impressive and, taking everything into account, there is every chance the visitors will return home empty-handed from Thursday’s clash at Stadion Petrovskiy.
Highlighted Player (Ivanovic):
Over the years Branislav Ivanovic has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world football. Bane plays as a centre back, but he is capable of playing as a full back as well. The Serbian defender has been playing for Chelsea since 2008 and he used to play for the likes of Srem, OFK Beograd and Lokomotiv Moscow in the past as well. Ivanovic leaves his heart on the field in every single match and that is the main reason why the fans love him. He is known for his aerial ability as well and it has to be noted that he has scored 22 goals for Chelsea since arriving to Stamford Bridge in 2008. The Serbian footballer has won two Premier League trophies with the Blues, but the Champions League trophy won in 2012 is considered the biggest success of his career. Branislav is married to Natasa, who gave birth to his four children.
Highlighted Team (Zenit Petersburg):
Zenit Saint Petersburg are a Russian football club that was founded by workers of Leningrad Metal Plant in 1925. Over the years the Zenitchiki have established themselves as one of the dominant forces in Russian football, but they won their first domestic trophy in 1984. Zenit have been impressive in the national championship in the 21st century, winning four league titles, while clinching two Russian Cups (2010, 2016). The Zenitchiki are a regular participant of the Champions League group stages and in 2008 they did well to win the UEFA Cup. The Russian outfit defeated Glasgow Rangers (2-0) in the title game, with Denisov and Zyryanov both finding the net in the final of the competition. Zenit play their home games at Krestovsky Stadium, the venue that was opened in 2016. Gazprom are the club’s main sponsors and the colour of their home shirts is white-sky blue. Brazilian ace Hulk is probably the most notable footballer who played for Zenit.