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Russians roar past Anderlecht
Dominant Zenit St Petersburg swept to a 3-1 victory to leave Anderlecht needing a final-day win over Hajduk Split to reach the Europa League knock-out stages.

Aleksei Ionov and Alexander Bukharov put the Russians in control, both goals created by inspirational playmaker Danny.

The introduction of substitute Ziguy Badibanga belatedly sparked Anderlecht into life and he set up a goal for Kanu - but Szabolcs Huszti's immediate response nipped any prospective comeback in the bud.

After a quiet opening to the game, Zenit broke through in the 12th minute through Ionov. Danny slid the ball into the right side of the penalty area and the midfielder finished low inside the near post from 12 yards.

Lukas Maracek went in search of an equaliser but his left-footed shot flashed wide from 20 yards.

Jonathan Legear dragged an effort wide of the near post from 12 yards and Maracek was again off target from range before Zenit retook the attacking initiative.

Nicolas Lombaerts met Alessandro Rosina's corner with a right-footed shot over the bar before Konstantin Zyryanov went within a hair's breadth of doubling the advantage, shooting against the post from six yards out.

Rosina put an effort wide from similar range before crossing for Ionov, who saw his shot parried by keeper Silvio Proto.

Viacheslav Malafeev was equally alert in the Zenit goal moments later to deny Romelu Lukaku, before the half petered out with no further goalmouth action.

Anderlecht withdrew Legear at the break replaced him with Argentinian forward Matias Suarez.

Ionov saw a 12-yard effort parried by Proto - and it proved the prelude to Zenit's second goal.

Danny was once again the provider, the Venezuelan-born Portugal international threading the ball through for Bukharov to finish calmly past Proto and make the game as good as safe.

Bukharov was swiftly replaced by Maksim Kanunnikov and Anderlecht introduced Badibanga for Marecek.

Danny forced two saves in quick succession from Proto as the game exploded into life following that goal - the second an excellent reaction stop to parry away a powerful 12-yard drive.

Defender Nicolas Lombaerts, up for the ensuing corner, saw a left-footed drive also well saved by Proto - and Rosina then volleyed against the crossbar before he was replaced by Huszti.

Badibanga drew a good save from Malafeev with a right-footed drive but it was a brief respite for the Belgians and Proto had to be at his best again to deny Zyryanov.

The dreadlocked Badibanga was proving a lively presence, and shot wide from 30 yards before extending Malafeev once more from around 20.

He then crossed for Kanu to head Anderlecht back into contention with three minutes remaining - but a tense finish was averted when Zenit swept upfield from the kick-off and Huszti headed in Fernando Meira's cross.
 
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