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Zenit 0-2 RB Leipzig: Demme and Sabitzer secure deserved win

By Tom Webber
Demme - cropped

St Petersburg, November 6: Diego Demme and Marcel Sabitzer earned RB Leipzig a 2-0 victory at Zenit that edged Julian Nagelsmann's side closer to qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League.

Stand-in captain Demme rifled a fierce shot past Zenit goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov in the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time to put Leipzig on the path to an important victory.

Nagelsmann's side put six goals past Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal last Wednesday and scored eight against Mainz at the weekend, but they lacked a clinical edge with Timo Werner starting on the bench due to a muscle complaint.

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Werner, who scored five goals and assisted the same amount in those two resounding victories, came on in the 61st minute and played a role in Sabitzer ensuring they retained top spot in Group G regardless of the result between Lyon and Benfica later on Tuesday.

Leipzig thought they had taken the lead in the 14th minute when Marcel Halstenberg picked out the bottom-right corner from 20 yards, but referee Orel Grinfeld disallowed the goal upon review because the ball brushed Christopher Nkunku's arm in the build-up.

Results | Points Table

Douglas Santos almost won Zenit a penalty after the half-hour mark, though VAR confirmed the on-field decision to only award a free-kick.

Sardar Azmoun scuffed wide and Zenit paid the price when Sabitzer's free-kick was blocked and Demme drilled a fine follow-up effort home from 25 yards on the stroke of half-time.

Nkunku and Emil Forsberg were denied by Kerzhakov before Werner was sent on for the Frenchman.

Werner played a role in Leipzig's second goal in the 63rd minute, feeding Forsberg with a pass the Swede slid in behind for Sabitzer to finish at the near post.

Artem Dzyuba and Dayot Upamecano were booked for a heated confrontation before Peter Gulacsi produced a stunning stop to keep Yordan Osorio's header out of the top-left corner and secure the clean sheet.

What does it mean? History for Nagelsmann

Nagelsmann became the youngest coach to oversee 10 games in the Champions League at 32 years and 105 days old, beating the record set by BATE's Viktor Goncharenko in 2011 by two years and 39 days.

The former Hoffenheim boss also navigated Leipzig's first clean sheet in the competition at the 10th attempt.

Sabitzer on song

While Werner has grabbed the headlines over the past week, Sabitzer once again proved key for Leipzig in the Champions League. He has now been directly involved in six goals in his nine Champions League appearances for the club.

Erokhin lives on the edge

Aleksandr Erokhin was booked for a wild lunge on Upamecano inside six minutes and while he avoided a second yellow card for another reckless challenge on Konrad Laimer, Leipzig used the resulting free-kick to move ahead.

What's next?

Leipzig take on Hertha Berlin away on Saturday, while Zenit travel to Arsenal Tula the following day.

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Story first published: Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 1:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 6, 2019
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