Zenit Saint Petersburg secured top spot in Group H and maintained their status as the only side with a 100% record in this season’s Champions League by beating Valencia in Russia on Tuesday evening.
Two slick team goals – scored by Oleg Shatov and Artem Dzyuba – gave Zenit, managed by former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas, a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Valencia ended the game with 10 men, after Ruben Vezo was shown a straight red card late on for denying Shatov a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Shatov limped off moments after Vezo had been dismissed, seemingly injured by the Portuguese centre-back’s challenge.
It had earlier been Shatov who broke the deadlock for Zenit, who have now scored 12 goals and conceded just four in their five group games.
There was a slight suggestion of offside, but Shatov looked level on the replay, which does not make for good viewing from a Valencia perspective.
Valencia were second best for almost all of the game, but Santi Mina did find the net on 68 minutes, only for the goal to be correctly ruled out for offside.
The match ended as a contest eight minutes later, when Dzyuba prodded home after receiving a close-range pass from the quick-witted Danny.
Defeat for Valencia leaves them with six points from five matches. They remain second in the group, but they will fall behind Gent if the Belgian side beat Lyon later tonight.
Zenit topping their group means that they will go into the knockout round as top seeds, seeing them avoid all other pool winners.
Despite their brilliance in Europe, Zenit have not been dominant in their domestic league so far this season. They are currently fourth in the Russian Premier League, seven points behind leaders CSKA Moscow after 16 rounds of fixtures.