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16th Aug 2018

Zenit St Petersburg pull off greatest Europa League comeback for 33 years

Zenit St Petersburg turned over a four goal deficit to complete the greatest Europa League comeback for 33 years

Reuben Pinder

Zenit St Petersburg 8 (EIGHT) -1 Dinamo Minsk AET

It’s a scoreline that required brackets. Very rarely does a match see eight goals, even more rarely are eight goals scored by one team in a single game. Even more rarely than that does a team come back from 4-0 down to win 8-5 on aggregate over two legs.

To be precise, it’s the first time such a comeback has occurred in 33 years. The last time such a feat was achieved, it was 1985, when Real Madrid came back from 5-1 down against Borussia Mönchengladbach to level the scores in the second leg and advance from their last-16 tie on away goals.

But tonight, it was Zenit St Petersburg who defied the odds. After losing the first leg of their Europa League qualifier to Dinamo Minsk 4-0, they has a mountain to climb. The height of Artem Dzyuba helped them climb that mountain, as the Russia international scored a hat-trick.

Holding midfielder Leandro Paredes opened the scoring after 22 minutes but was sent off in the 72nd minute at 2-0 and Zenit looked to be crashing out. But two late goals from Dzyuba took the tie to extra time.

In the additional half an hour, Minsk seized the opportunity to tip the tie in their favour with a goal in the 99th minute but that sparked a barrage of attacks from Zenit, who went on to score four goals, putting the tie to bed.