Luuk De Jong’s brace helps Twente storm past Zenit St Petersburg: UEFA Europa League
A brace from Luuk de Jong helped FC Twente beat Zenit St Petersburg 3-0 in the first leg of the last 16 round of the UEFA Europa League at the De Grolsch Veste on Thursday evening.
The hosts made several changes to their starting line-up that beat NAC Breda 2-0 over the weekend. De Jong started as a lone striker for the hosts in a 4-5-1 setup.
Luciano Spalletti made only one change to his team that beat the BSC Young Boys 3-1 in their last game. Aleksei Ionov was replaced by Sergei Semak in the midfield for the visitors.
Both teams took a cautious approach at the start of the game, as Twente dominated the early possession. The hosts had the first sight on goal in the 10th minute; fullback Roberto Rosales made a blistering run from the right wing and dribbled past
two opponents before shooting centimeters wide of the right post.
The visitors enjoyed a major chunk of possession in the opening 20 minutes and created several nice openings as well. Midfielder Danny Alves took a short from distance and Nikolay Mihaylov made a superb save to fist it away for a corner.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 25th minute after Nacer Chadli sent a prefect cross for De Jong to head it into the top corner of the goal and make it 1-0.
Moments later, the visitors came close of an equaliser after Danko Lazovic dribbled comfortably past Rosales but his shot from the edge of the box flew off target.
Zenit were clearly the better of the two sides in terms of ball possession and creativity but they were wasteful in front of the goal.
The visitors were punished for not taking their chances immediately after the resumption of second half, as Twente doubled their advantage in the 56th minute. Denny Landzaat took Chadli’s cross on the volley and his powerful strike stormed into
the net from 20 yards to make it 2-0 for the hosts.
Twente came close of their third goal, two minutes later, when Bruno Alves was caught in possession by De Jong but the striker’s mis-hit shot was easily saved by the keeper.
Zenit kept on pilling the pressure to pull one goal back but their strikers let them down badly.
De Jong doubled his tally for the evening on the stroke of full time whistle and to complete a comprehensive 3-0 win for Twente; Theo Janssen delivered a corner and De Jong headed it from six yards into the goal.
The second leg of the tie will be played at the Petrovsky Stadium, Saint-Petersburg on 17 March, 2011.