Reebok Memories: Torrential Rain Hits Zenit Tie

  • June 09, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/94a1c

Less than 48 hours after England's game against Honduras was hit by a thunderstorm, we look back at the night Zenit St Petersburg arrived at the Reebok Stadium.

On November 3, 2005, Bolton played host to Russian opposition for the very first time. Zenit, known for their free-flowing pass and move style of football, promised so much but were unable to get into their stride as a heavy storm turned the playing surface into what can only be described as a swamp.

Andrei Arshavin and Martin Skrtel, players who would later go on to grace the Premier League, were on show, but Kevin Nolan's 24th minute strike proved to be the difference between the two sides in an otherwise unplayable game - which somehow managed to avoid abandonment.

Zenit had the better of the early exchanges, with Jussi Jaaskelainen called into action to deny them on two separate occasions inside the opening 10 minutes.

Kevin Davies twice squandered chances to put Wanderers ahead as the quarter-hour approached - first heading wide from a Nolan cross, before blazing over the crossbar with just Kamil Contofalsky left to beat in the Zenit goal.

Then, on 24 minutes, the hosts took the lead as Nolan tapped the ball into an empty net after Contofalsky had done well to block a goalbound strike from Stelios Giannakopoulos.

Bolton went in one-up at the break, but were fortunate to keep their lead as Aleksandr Kerzhakov's shot flashed inches wide of Jaaskelainen's far post six minutes into the second half.

Arshavin looked set to break clean through on goal, on the hour mark, but the flooded surface slowed his progress and allowed Bruno N'Gotty to get back to clear the ball to safety.

Davies headed just wide for Bolton at the midway point of the second period, while Igor Denisov brought a diving save out of Jaaskelainen with 13 minutes to go.

Arshavin should have equalised in the final minute of stoppage time, but his point-blank header was straight at Jaaskelainen - who made a smart reaction stop to give Sam Allardyce's side victory in a game that will be remembered for the weather, rather than the football it had to offer.

Bolton would go on to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, before losing to Marseille in the round of 32.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, N'Gotty, Ben Haim, Faye, O'Brien, Giannakopoulos, Nakata (Okocha 66), Gardner, Speed, Nolan (Diouf 85), Davies (Borgetti 74)
Subs Not Used: Walker, Jaidi, Fojut, Vaz Te
Goals: Nolan 24

Zenit St Petersburg: Contofalsky, Hagen, Anyukov, Skrtel (Horshkov 25), Vjestica, Flachbart, Sumulikoski, Arshavin, Vlasov (Kozlov 89), Denisov, Kerzhakov
Subs Not Used: Malafeev, Stroev, Poskus, Chadikovsky, Korzhanov
Booked: Hagen, Flachbart

Referee: Matteo Trefoloni (Italy)
Attendance: 15,905

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