Macedonian champion FC Vardar showdown tonight with Russian powerhouse Zenit St Petersburg will be broadcast to 71 countries world wide, reported UEFA in their press release.
The match is set to begin at 21:00 hrs local time, referee is Jacob Kelet from Denmark.
Bookies give Zenit the nod as a favorite in this match. Odds are 1.67 for Zenit and 4.5 for Vardar.
The bookies were certainly right on the money in the prediction. Zenit christened Vardar’s introduction to Europe with a 5-0 win in Skopje. The Russian squad was simply too much for Vardar in every facet of the game.
At no point could Vardar match the fast paced play by Zenit in which there are the likes of former Chelsea stalwart Ivanovic, Russian national team star Kokorin, Mammana etc.
Vardar was certainly not as bad as the result suggests. Ironically, the Macedonian champion created chances, had a good control of the ball, however major defensive lapses contributed to every goal they conceded.
Kokorin scored two headers after being left completely unchecked by anyone in the five meter box. Two scrambles in front of goals added two more to the Zenit tally.
Another defensive lapse saw Argentine international Rigono pick up a pass and despite being shadowed by two players, he easily slotted the ball to the left side as Gachevski started going to the right.
Vardar’s defense is simply not up to par, that became quite evident. Grncharov was too slow to cover the speedy Zenit players. The omission of Vardar’s Evgeniy Novak in defense due to injury certainly didn’t help.
Jitters may have played a factor in this lopsided loss, as it was Vardar’s first group match in Europe. However, things will not get easier. Vardar still needs to face off against Real Sociedad who demolished Rosenborg 4-0 in the other match from Group L.