Zenit‘s charter left Pulkovo airport exactly on time: at 11 a.m. sharp the team’s plane taxied to takeoff position, then steadily accelerated, setting a course for the Belgian capital. The flight crew did well to get the plane off on time considering that the team’s delegation arrived at Pulkovo Airport later than usual. The St. Petersburg roads were even more clogged than usual on Wednesday morning. In fact, the bus with players arrived exactly on schedule, but as Spalletti emphasized once again: “Zenit is not just footballers, it’s everybody working for the club.”
The flight went very smoothly. The players were in a great mood after their victory over Tom. Even though three players are disqualified, the team has kept 100% of its fighting spirit. And what can you say about Luciano Spalletti, who has finally gotten back two of his team’s leaders after injury – Igor Denisov and Ivica Krizanac! The team was given additional young spirit by the presence of players from Zenit’s youth team on the flight. For the first time ever Andrey Zaitsev, the Zenit-Y goalkeeper, came to a European cup match. He joined the more experienced Zenit-Y players Alexey Ionov and Maxim Kanunnikov. The latter may get his Europa League debut, considering that Alexander Bukharov caught a cold.
The team landed in the Belgian capital about 12:30 local time, and held a small, unplanned autograph session in the airport. By 2:00 the team arrived at the Conrad Hotel, located in the center of Brussels. By 6:00 p.m. Zenit was at Anderlecht’s stadium, where the team had a pre-match practice and held a press conference.