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UEFA Champions League Group C wrap: AC Milan overcome Zenit

AC Milan edged Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 in an enthralling Champions League encounter in Russia on Wednesday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men made a great start and were up 2-0 in the space of three first-half minutes through Urby Emanuelson and Stephan El Shaarawy.

However, Hulk dragged Zenit back into the game with a fine strike just before the break before then setting up Roman Shirokov for the equaliser early in the second half.

Milan were not done, though, and they snatched a precious win courtesy of an unfortunate own goal by Tomas Hubocan that condemned Zenit to a first home defeat in UEFA competition since September 2008.

The visitors needed some luck to break the deadlock 13 minutes into the Group C clash, with Vyacheslav Malafeev unable to change direction quick enough to keep out an Emanuelson free-kick that had taken a wicked deflection off Shirokov.

El Shaarawy netted a brilliant goal just moments later, picking the ball up 35 yards from goal before going on a solo run.

He glided past Viktor Fayzulin then flicked the ball around the outside of Nicolas Lombaerts before finishing with confidence.

Hulk came into the game and twice stung the hands of Christian Abbiati with well-struck drives before he deservedly halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time with a left-footed strike.

Zenit were level early in the second half as Shirokov rose unmarked at the far post to head home Hulk’s corner.

AC Milan continued to press and they regained the lead when Hubocan, under pressure from Giampaolo Pazzini, made a mess of a cross from Riccardo Montolivo and diverted his effort past Malafeev.

Malaga made it two wins from two in Group C of the Champions League with a scintillating 3-0 victory over an outclassed Anderlecht.

Having swept Zenit aside in their tournament opener, the La Liga side looked a cut above their hosts from start to finish.

Eliseu put them ahead with a stunning volley just before the break and Joaquin doubled their advantage with a penalty.

Completing a delightful brace, Eliseu struck again just after the hour-mark with a chipped finish over goalkeeper Silvio Proto.

Wed 3 October, 2012
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