A last-gasp penalty by Yaroslav Rakitskiy earned 10-man Zenit St Petersburg a 1-1 draw at Malmo FF in their Champions League Group H clash on Tuesday, ensuring that the Russians will play in the Europa League in the New Year.
Danish midfielder Soren Rieks netted Malmo’s first goal of the group stage in the 28th minute, combining well with Veljko Birmancevic before firing a shot low to the keeper’s left to give his side the lead.
Zenit missed a gilt-edged chance to equalise from the penalty spot early in the second half, and the visitors also had Dmitri Chistyakov sent off for a second yellow card in the 86th minute.
The drama was not over though and Rieks was adjudged to have fouled Artem Dzubya in the box in second-half stoppage time, with Rakitskiy making no mistake from the spot.
The result ensured Zenit, who have four points, cannot finish lower than third in the group behind Chelsea and Juventus, who both have 12 points. Malmo have one point but lost away to Zenit and have a much poorer goal difference.