Proud Arshavin spent by star turn

Wednesday 14 May 2008
by Eugene Ravdin from Manchester
Andrei Arshavin (right) lifts the UEFA Cup trophy with Zenit team-mate Aleksandr AnyukovAndrei Arshavin (right) lifts the UEFA Cup trophy with Zenit team-mate Aleksandr Anyukov (©Getty Images)Photos/WallpapersPhotos/Wallpapers »

Andrei Arshavin was "happy for myself, for my city and for my country" after the scheming No10 helped FC Zenit St. Petersburg claim the UEFA Cup with a Carlsberg Man of the Match-winning performance against Rangers FC.

He may not have scored himself but Russian international Arshavin was involved in both his side's second-half goals after they had resisted a few nervous moments. "We had the advantage as Rangers focused on defence," he said. "But in the second half we grew a little tired and for a time Rangers seized the initiative and found their stride."

Good timing
Having held firm, Zenit finally broke the deadlock 18 minutes from time as Igor Denisov collected a sublime through ball from Arshavin and fired beyond goalkeeper Neil Alexander. "We scored at the right time," said Arshavin. "After that, Rangers threw everything at us and it became quite difficult for us as they are physically stronger. Thank God we scored a second to win it."

Arshavin also helped to create that strike, feeding Fatih Tekke whose low cross was turned in by Konstantin Zyrianov – sparking enthusiastic celebrations. The 26-year-old lifted the cup and then accepted the Man of the Match award, and if his face seemed devoid of emotion, that was down to fatigue and relief, he insisted. "I expended all my emotions during the trophy ceremony, but it will be alright by the time I get back to the hotel. It was difficult to play tonight and I am really exhausted, but I am happy for myself, for my city and for my country."

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