RB Leipzig have reached the last eight of the Europa League after a 1-1 draw with Zenit in St.Petersburg. Leipzig’s slender victory in Germany last week ultimately proved the difference against a stubborn Zenit side.
Zenit St.Petersburg 1-1 RB Leipzig, Krestovsky Stadium
(Druissi 45'+1 — Augustin 22')
Ralph Hasenhüttl's Leipzig team deserved to progress against a Zenit St Petersburg that offered little over the two legs — but they did their best to throw it away.
Zenit’s late goal in Leipzig last week had put the tie in the balance heading to Russia, but an early strike by Jean-Kevin Augustin eased Leipzig's anxiety. The Frenchman’s neat pivot and low shot found the bottom corner after good work by Timo Werner to create the opening.
Leipzig remained in control of the contest until stoppage time, but the half had a sting in the tail for Leipzig when Zenit captain Domenico Criscito found space on the left and picked out Sebastian Druissi, whose acrobatic volley at the far post emphatically drew Roberto Mancini’s side level.
The Bundesliga side still had the aggregate lead but almost gave up their advantage when substitute Anton Zabolotny found the net, but he had strayed beyond Leipzig’s last defender into an offside position.
The warning signs were there for Leipzig but they appeared to have found a passage to secure the win when Werner was brought down in the box, but the Germany striker went for power with his penalty and Andrei Lunev saved it well to his left.
A renewed Zenit pushed for a goal that would have forced extra time, but Leipzig held firm and staggered over the line to reach the final eight, as they keep their hopes alive in their debut season in Europe.