Monaco vs. Zenit St. Petersburg, 2014 UEFA Champions League: Time, TV schedule and game preview
Monaco host Zenit St. Petersburg in a straight fight for a spot in the Champions League knockout phase on Tuesday.
Everything is up for grabs in the final round of Champions League Group C action on Tuesday, with leaders Bayer Leverkusen, second-placed Monaco and third-placed Zenit St. Petersburg each separated by a respective point. The excitement reaches a climax on Tuesday, where Monaco will do battle with Zenit to see who will join Bayer in the next round — and if they can top the group.
Monaco know that a draw would be good enough to get them through into the knockout stages — despite having scored only two goals in their first five matches. Zenit, on the other hand, need a win in order to progress. Though they may have struggled in Europe so far, André Villas-Boas’ side is probably the stronger of the two, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if they overhauled their Monégasque opponents.
Key player - João Moutinho (Monaco)
With Monaco’s attempt at following in the footsteps of Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain in becoming the next inordinately wealthy footballing superpower having fallen foul of FFP rules, they suffered an exodus of stars in the summer, including Radamel Falcao and James Rodríguez. Now, their only really great player is central midfielder João Moutinho. They’ll have to hope the playmaker is on his game.
Key matchup - Hulk vs. Monaco’s left-back
Zenit’s star attacker is undoubtedly Brazilian international Hulk, who first came to prominence after a string of excellent performances under Villas-Boas at Porto. Now, reunited with the Portuguese coach in Russia, he’s impressing again. In this match it remains to be seen who he’ll be up against at left-back, as Monaco’s two first-choice players in that position are both doubtful through injury. Whoever ends up starting there will have an unenviable task.
Monaco injuries and suspensions
Out: Ricardo Carvalho (suspended). In doubt: Layvin Kurzawa (hamstring), Elderson (unspecified), Borja López (knee).
Zenit St. Petersburg injuries and suspensions
Out: Alexander Kerzhakov (foot)
Monaco head into this match without their veteran centre-back Ricardo Carvalho, who is suspended. However, they’ll be hoping that full-backs Layvin Kurzawa and Elderson will be fit enough to be involved, and that young defender Borja López will be in good enough shape to be in line for his first appearance of the season. Zenit’s only missing player is long-serving striker Kerzhakov.
Match Date/Time: Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Stade Louis II, Monaco
TV: Fox Soccer Plus (U.S.), Sky Sports Red Button (U.K.), beIN Sports 1 (Monaco), NTV Russia (Russia)
Online: Watch ESPN, Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3 Online-App (U.S.), Sportsnet World Now (Canada), NTV+ Sport Online (Russia)