St Petersburg: AC Milan took advantage of two deflected goals to beat Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 in an entertaining Champions League Group C match on Wednesday.
The Russians champions fought back from two down to level before Milan scored the winner with 14 minutes remaining when a low Riccardo Montolivo shot hit Zenit defender Tomas Hubocan and slid into the near corner.
The Italians scored twice in the first quarter of an hour, with the home side in disarray. Urby Emanuelson put the visitors ahead with a 20-metre free kick that took a deflection, wrong-footing Zenit keeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev in the 13th minute.
Stephan El Shaarawy, who turns 20 this month, doubled the lead three minutes later after a mazy solo run through the Zenit defence, becoming the youngest player to score for Milan in Europe's elite club competition.
Brazil striker Hulk, who joined Zenit from Porto for a club record $77.41 million before last month’s transfer deadline, pulled one back for the home side just before the break before setting up Roman Shirokov’s equaliser four minutes into the second half.
Meanwhile, Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini has appealed to fans to go to the San Siro for this Sunday’s derby against Inter Milan with poor ticket sales threatening to leave large parts of the stadium empty. So far only 55,000 tickets have been sold, which is far down on the usual number and includes just over 23,700 Milan season ticket holders, the lowest number since 1986.
“Guys, a derby without you makes no sense. Buy tickets because we can all go together to the stadium to win this most important of games,” Ambrosini said in a video released by the club on their website.
Last season a crowd of 79,612 saw title-challenging Milan beaten 1-0 by a Diego Milito goal, while the previous year 80,000 cheered on the eventual champions as they hammered Inter 3-0. (Agencies)