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Zenit vs Auxerre – Russians strong at home in Europe

| 17.08.2010

Zenit St. Petersburg will be relying on their sparkling home record in Europe and their strong track record against French opposition when taking on Auxerre in the final play-off round ahead of the Champions League.

The Russians have twice faced Marseille in two-legged European fixtures in the past and have qualified on both occasions, including en route to winning the Uefa Cup in 2008.

They are 4/6 to win the home leg of their clash with Auxerre and will be optimistic of continuing their impressive record in Europe at the Petrovsky Stadium, where they have only lost two of 26 games in the past decade.

Zenit also have the advantage of being over halfway into the Russian league season, which should give them the superiority in terms of match sharpness over Auxerre, who have drawn their two games in Ligue 1 thus far.

Luciano Spalletti’s team hold a seven-point advantage at the top of the division having maintained an unbeaten record through the first 16 fixtures of the season.

They have additionally bolstered their squad through the signings of defensive duo Aleksandar Lukovic from Udinese and Bruno Alves from FC Porto, while Sergei Semak will provide some steel in midfield.

Zenit reached this stage of qualifying after claiming a 1-0 aggregate victory over Romanian outfit Unirea Urziceni, with Danny netting the only goal during the first half of the second leg in Russia.

He is 6-1 to be the first goalscorer against Auxerre, who may be relying on Ireneusz Jelen to grab a priceless away goal.

The Polish attacker finished Ligue 1 last season with 14 goals and is 7/1 to open the scoring against Zenit.

Anthony Le Tallec will also be hoping to impress after signing from Le Mans and is 3/1 to score at any time.

The omens do not look good for Auxerre as they slumped to a 4-0 reverse the last time they visited Russia, losing to CSKA Moscow during the quarter final stages of the 2005 Uefa Cup.

It is 5/2 that Auxerre will make it three draws in succession and 6/1 the game finishes 0-0. See the whole correct score market.



Ed Needham