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Abascal forgot to prepare the team for the second half and Pedro tore the reds and whites apart. What happened in the match “Spartak” – “Zenit”

Spartak failed to beat Zenit in the first match of the Russian Cup semi-finals. Photo: FC Spartak

Zenit beat Spartak 2:1 in the first semi-final of the Russian Cup

Zenit of Saint Petersburg tore apart Spartak in Moscow. Sergei Semak’s team needed 45 minutes to catch up with the Muscovites and win 2:1. The red and white played a very correct and strict first half, then Semak woke up his team and sent the base to the field with the unreal Pedro. Spartak will still have the opportunity to stay in the RPL path of the Russian Cup. The main question is: will there be any chances?

KP Sport tells what happened in the cup match between Spartak and Zenit.

Zenit asleep and Spartak in crisis again without Promes

Spartak and Zenit have a lot of problems this season. This didn’t make the poster for their full-time cup match worse, but on the contrary it created intrigue. Just a month ago, the Red and White won with a goalless draw in Saint Petersburg. And now another feat had to be accomplished. Certainly, the team’s recent problems indicated that the feat would not take place.

Spartak still does not have Quincy Promes, arrested in the United Arab Emirates. Without the Dutchman, the team does not score in the spring of the Russian championship. In addition, the problem of Jikia’s contract is not resolved and Guillermo Abascal gives new reasons to joke every time. The Spanish coach is “fired” almost after every round.

But everyone is already accustomed to Spartak’s problems. And not so much about Zenit’s difficulties. However, the St. Petersburg team plays very poor football – and this inertia did not start in the spring. Zenit looks more and more like its sleeping version, which wakes up after conceding a few goals. Even Brazilian newcomers Pedro and Arthur failed to wake up the champions. Many experts believed that Spartak had a real chance of defeating such a dismantled Zenit.

Promes again missed the match against Zenit due to his arrest. Photo: Global Look Press

Mixed compositions and Ugalde’s goal after a controversial pass from Sobolev

The first place did not prevent Abascal and Semak from lining up “strange” compositions for this important match. The St. Petersburg players played as reserves with reinforcements in the form of Barrios and Erakovic. But with Spartak it turned out to be more interesting. The red and white started three full-backs at the same time: Khlusevich, Denisov and Klassen.

But this Abascal experiment did not fail. Spartak had more possession of the ball, structured their defensive play more strictly and were more active and harder in their tackling. And also – for some time he played in a positional attack, as happened in the episode with the scored goal. In the 12th minute, when the Red and Whites tackled the visitors against their own goal, Alexander Sobolev threw the ball just under Manfred Ugalde’s volley – 1:0, the Costa Rican was precise. Certainly, Sobolev’s pass was borderline – either with the head or with the hand. But Sergei Karasev chose the first option.

Spartak continued to press and sleepy Zenith did not seem to realize that they had missed a goal. Even Klassen looked good and productive in midfield. Perhaps this is all due to the big picture: the complete rigor in constructing the attacks and defense of Abascal’s charges.

Certainly, Zenit woke up again towards the end of the half. The St. Petersburg team increased the speed of the game – and the first moments began in front of Selikhov’s goal. Spartak’s defense held firm, but it was a wake-up call for them.

Ugalde’s goal gave Spartak the lead in the first half. Photo: Global Look Press

Zenit woke up and Pedro tore Spartak’s defense apart

Zenit’s blow to Spartak’s nose at the end of the first half was just the beginning. The bleus-blancs-bleus started the second part of the match very actively, with the ball, in attack. Maybe during the break Semak reminded his players who Spartak was for Zenit?

Whatever Semak said to his players, it made a strong impression on the blues-white-blues. There were also substitutions and the appearance on the field of the main players of St. Petersburg. Already in the 55th minute, Sergeev, due to injury, fought with Selikhov, and Pedro found the ball that bounced and shot firmly into the goal – 1:1.

Zenit woke up and the Brazilian Pedro improved so much that Abascal had to replace Denisov with Zobnin so that the right flank of the red and white defense did not completely collapse. But the plan failed. Ten minutes after the goal, the St. Petersburg team launched a rapid attack, Wendel found the oncoming Pedro and the 18-year-old Brazilian fired a magnificent long-range shot into the corner of Selikhov’s goal – 2 :1.

Spartak completely failed and the Red and White’s dangerous moments were replaced by endless mistakes. All Zenit had to do was increase the tempo of their game.

Brazilian Pedro scored two goals at once in the second half. Photo: FC Zenit Telegram channel

Abascal is powerless against strong Zenit

Spartak played a very decent first half, but there was no heroism. We had to manage not to tune into Zenit. And it is quite possible to play against permanent players from St. Petersburg. But the second half was a total failure.

Where was Guillermo Abascal when he had to remind his players that in every football match there are second halves? Or is it not a matter of attitude, but the fact that Spartak simply cannot play against the main players of Zenit?

St. Petersburg had 45 minutes to tear the red and white apart. But there is quite a return match in St. Petersburg. I wonder if Abaskal will prepare the Spartak players for it? Or will Moscow leaders still start to make important decisions?

Source: KP

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