Zenit salvages draw at Malmo in Champions League

National Sports

MALMO, Sweden (AP)Zenit St. Petersburg recovered from a late red card to draw its Champions League game at Malmo 1-1 with a stoppage-time penalty on Tuesday, but the Russian champion’s faint hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages are over.

Soren Rieks gave Malmo the lead with his team’s first Champions League goal since 2015 when he scored in the 28th minute off a one-two combination with Veljko Birmancevic, but he also conceded the spot kick which allowed Zenit to deny its Swedish opponent the win.

Zenit missed a chance to level early in the second half when Malmo goalkeeper Johan Dahlin gave away a penalty for a reckless challenge before redeeming himself by stopping Zenit striker Artem Dzyuba’s penalty kick, which was low and hit down the middle.

Zenit’s chances of getting a point from the game seemed to have gone when defender Dmitrii Chistiakov was sent off in the 86th for a second booking, but Rieks’ foul gave the Russian team a final chance. Veteran defender Yaroslav Rakitskyy took the penalty and equalized.

The result leaves Zenit assured of finishing third in Group H and going into the Europa League knockout playoffs, while Malmo will end the group stage in last place.

Zenit needed to win to stand any chance of qualifying, and also for Juventus to beat Chelsea in the other game in the group Tuesday. However, Chelsea beat Juventus 4-0.

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