Zenit suffers double blow

Fabio Quagliarella and Antonio Di Natele scored in the final five minutes as Italy’s Udinese beat Zenit St. Petersburg, the defending champions, 2-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Cup last 16 round.

The game was tied up in its final minutes.

Five minutes before the final whistle, Simone Pepe crossed to the impressive Quagliarella, who side-footed the ball into an empty net for his fifth goal in this season's competition.

And some moments later, Roman Shirokov was harshly adjudged to have felled Christian Obodo in injury time and was sent off before Antonio Di Natale doubled the lead from the spot.

Thursday brought yet more sad news for the St. Petes side. Zenit’s main sponsor, Gazprom, revealed plans to cut down financing of the club by 10 percent in 2009.

“The budget has been reduced this year versus the initial plan, yet we believe it remains sufficient for the club and the team will continue showing good results,” said Sergey Kupriyanov, the corporation's official spokesman.

Kupriyanov said, along with this, that Gazprom will continue financing the Schalke football club in Germany.