Rogic's Celtic bow out of UEL as Zenit strike in second leg


Branislav Ivanovic was the key as Zenit St Petersburg overturned a first-leg deficit against Tom Rogic's Celtic for a 3-0 victory that sent them into the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League.

Australia midfielder Rogic started on the bench, with his arrival at half-time for Eboue Kouassi failing to inspire Brendan Rodgers's side.

Having missed the 1-0 defeat in Scotland a week ago, birthday boy Ivanovic proved the unlikely inspiration for Zenit's impressive turnaround at a raucous Krestovsky Stadium.

The veteran defender celebrated turning 34 by scoring the opening goal in the seventh minute, powering in a header from a corner to make it 1-1 on aggregate, before setting up Zenit's third in the second half.

A 25-yard shot from Daler Kuzyaev somehow slipped beyond Dorus De Vries to double the Russian side's lead before the half-hour mark, leaving Rodgers's team in need of an away goal to keep their European campaign alive.

However, Aleksandr Kokorin bundled in Ivanovic's low cross just after the hour to make sure Roberto Mancini would triumph in the battle between the two former Premier League managers.

Rodgers kept faith with the same XI that started the first leg in Glasgow, hardly a surprise after he branded their performance at Celtic Park as 'brilliant' in the immediate aftermath. Yet their narrow advantage - given to them by Callum McGregor's 78th-minute strike in the first leg – did not last long.

After Leandro Paredes's curling shot was turned around the post by De Vries, Ivanovic lost his marker at the resulting corner to head his side on level terms.

While De Vries had little chance with the opener, he would have expected to do better with Kuzyaev's strike that put Zenit in charge of the tie in the 27th minute.

The midfielder's attempt carried plenty of power but seemed to be heading straight at Celtic's experienced goalkeeper, who failed to set his feet in time as the ball flashed through his outstretched arms and into the middle of the net.

The shot-shy visitors, in contrast, failed to bother Andrey Lunev at the other end of the field, despite dominating possession against opponents happy to work on the counter.

Rodgers reacted to such a tepid opening 45 minutes by sending on Rogic in place of Kouassi. The substitute wasted no time in trying his luck from distance, though his speculative attempt drifted comfortably over the bar as Celtic struggled in attack.

The tie was put beyond them when Kokorin's run caught out Mikael Lustig, allowing the alert forward to convert Ivanovic's teasing centre from the right at the back post.

With a lead to protect and the clock on their side, Zenit comfortably held firm through to the final whistle to secure a place in the draw for the next round. Celtic, in contrast, will now focus on domestic matters, as they aim to complete the domestic treble for a second successive season.

Source Omnisport