BERLIN, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — Julian Nagelsmann’s men turned the tides with two second-half goals to see off Zenit Saint Petersburg 2-1 at the third round in Champions League’s group stage on Wednesday.
The “Bulls” returned to winning ways after four straight winless games as goals from Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabizter secured all three points and sewed up the second win in Group G.
Leipzig started off highly motivated in front of home soil and grabbed a bright start, as Laimer needed less than a minute to rattle the woodwork after Zenit goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov tipped the shot to the bar.
Even though Leipzig gained the upper hand, they still were only able to test Kerzhakov occasionally. Meanwhile, Zenit defended deep and opened the scoring out of the blue as Yaroslav Rakytskyy silenced the home side supporters with a long-range effort to make it 1-0 for the visitors in the 25th minute.
The hosts tried to respond but Lukas Klostermann headed into the arms of Kerzhakov from six meters before Timo Werner pulled over the target from eleven meters in the dying seconds of the first half.
Leipzig came out with their guns blazing after the restart and levelled the scores four minutes into the second half when Sabizter’s pass into the area allowed Laimer to slot home from tight angle into the far post corner.
The hosts gained momentum and pressed Zenit into the defence. Leipzig’s efforts were rewarded ten minutes after the equalizer as Sabizter had all time and space to chest down a cross from Klostermann before hammering the 2-1 lead from the edge of the box into the top right angle at the hour mark.
Zenit were unable to respond although they had a golden chance to restore parity in the 68th minute but substitute Yordan Osorio missed the target from promising position.
However, Leipzig remained in control of the proceedings on the pitch and should have added more goal their lead but substitute Matheus Cunha squandered two opportunities in the closing period.
“I am very delighted with the performance and the result. In the end, I believe it is a highly deserved result. Despite the setback we stayed calm and rewarded us,” Leipzig’s head coach Julian Nagelsmann said.
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