Andre Villas-Boas guides Zenit into Champions League group stage

After failing to find success in England with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively, Andre Villas-Boas has enjoyed a solid first six months as Zenit Saint Petersburg manager.

Andre Villas-Boas’s spells at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur might have ended in disappointment, but the Portuguese manager is at least tasting success in Russia with Zenit Saint Petersburg.

After taking over from Luciano Spaletti in March, the ex-Blues boss won his first six matches in charge to help guide the club to a second-place league finish and now, after strengthening his squad over the summer, has led them to the Champions League group stage.

Facing Standard Liege in their play-off tie, the Russian giants already held a 1-0 advantage from the first-leg in Belgium, before a 3-0 home win on Tuesday saw them cruise through in comprehensive fashion, with Brazilian striker Hulk grabbing a brace on the night.

Opening the scoring on 30 minutes through Jose Rondon's deflected header, the hosts could even afford to have Viktor Fayzulin sent off before half-time, with Hulk’s penalty nine minutes after the break giving them a 3-0 aggregate lead at that point.

The side’s star front man was on target again just four minutes later, brushing off Liege defenders to slot home, before Liege had a man of their own sent off in the final stages of the game with the result decided.

Now entering the tournament proper alongside Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, there would no doubt be numerous fans hoping to see the two sides drawn in the same group, with the prospect of Villas-Boas getting one over his former mentor making for a tantalising pair of matchups.

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