Hulk catches Porto napping to seize Zenit draw

Wed Nov 6, 2013 2:51pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

(Reuters) - Hulk missed a penalty but scored the equalizer as Zenit St Petersburg secured a 1-1 home draw against Porto on Wednesday to stay favorites for the runners-up spot in Champions League Group G.

The Brazilian dented his former club's hopes as Zenit moved on to five points with two matches remaining, one above the Portuguese champions, who are third.

Porto captain Lucho Gonzalez opened the scoring with a fine header after 23 minutes before burly forward Hulk punished lax defending to level.

Helton saved a Hulk penalty in the second half, awarded for a Nicolas Otamendi handball.

Leaders Atletico Madrid host bottom side Austria Vienna later on Wednesday.

"The result leaves a bitter taste because of our good first half. We had come here to get a win," UEFA man-of-the match Gonzalez told Portuguese television Sport TV. "But, mathematically, we still have a chance to go through."

The visitors saw more of the ball early on and drew first blood as Zenit seemed happy to sit back and try to catch Porto on the break.

The 32-year-old Lucho, playing his ninth Champions League campaign, made his experience count, applying a textbook header from a pinpoint Danilo cross that bounced off the ground and into the bottom corner.

The Portuguese champions were held to a disappointing draw by Belenenses in the championship over the weekend and have been criticized by their fans for inconsistent performances and giving away soft goals.   Continued...

Zenit St Petersburg's Cristian Ansaldi (R) and Axel Witsel (C) fight for the ball with Porto's Jackson Martinez during their Champions League soccer match at the Petrovsky stadium in St. Petersburg November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk