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Zenit crush Bayern to reach UEFA final

  • Story Highlights
  • Zenit St Petersburg overwhelm Bayern Munich to reach the UEFA Cup final
  • The Russian champions win 4-0 in Russia to secure a 5-0 aggregate victory
  • Pavel Pogrebnyak scores two goals but is also booked and will miss the final
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ST PETERSBURG, Russia -- Zenit St Petersburg booked their place in their first-ever UEFA Cup final in Manchester on May 14 after crushing Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich 4-0 in Russia on Thursday.

Zenit players celebrate one of their goals as the Russian champions reached their first European final.

In the final, they will play Scottish champions Rangers, who beat Fiorentina of Italy 4-2 on penalties, after both matches finished 0-0.

The final will be especially significant for Zenit's Dutch coach Dick Advocaat, who enjoyed a successful spell as coach of the Glasgow club earlier in the decade.

Bayern are on the verge of capturing the Bundesliga title this weekend, but they were made to look very average in the semifinal secong leg, as striker Pavel Pogrebnyak grabbed two goals for the rampant Russian champions.

Having hammered Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 in the quarterfinal, Zenit again over-powered a Bundesliga side and left the German giants reeling with a 5-1 aggregate defeat.

After last week's first leg finished 1-1 when an own goal from Brazilian Lucio boosted the Russians, Bayern had to score in St Petersburg to stay in the competition, but never looked like breaking the Zenit defense.

St Petersburg got the perfect start when Pogrebnyak smashed his free-kick at the Bayern wall and Franck Ribery's leap allowed the ball to fly under his legs into the Munich net after four minutes.

And things got worse for the German giants when Konstantin Zyrianov -- Russia's footballer of the year in 2007 -- held off the challenge of Ze Roberto to fire past Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn on 39 minutes to make it 2-0 at halftime.

The match and the tie were effectively ended as a contest when Victor Fayzulin headed past Kahn on 54 minutes to put his side on the cusp of their first European final.

For two of Bayern's stalwarts -- Kahn and coach Ottmar Hitzfeld who are both leaving Bayern at the end of the season -- this was their final European game.

And the Bayern defense did their veteran captain no favours for the fourth goal when they allowed Pogrebnyak all the space in the world to neatly place his shot past the goalkeeper to complete the rout on 73 minutes.

However, the night ended badly for two-goal hero Pogrebnyak, after he received a yellow card for an innocuous aerial challenge with Lucio which means the tournament's top scorer, with 11 goals, will not feature in the final.

Advocaat was understandably delighted with his team's performance. "I did not count on the fact that we would play so well. We hardly allowed Bayern to play, which is the biggest compliment I can pay to the team, today was definitely our day," he said.

Bayern coach Hitzfeld said: "This is, of course, a catastrophic result for us. We lost our composure instead of keeping our nerve.

"This team has given everything, but today was just not our day. At this level, you have to exploit every error and take every chance and in Europe this season we have not been as strong as in the Bundesliga." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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