Axel Witsel was wrongly sent off in the first half as Zenit and Austria Vienna played out a 0-0 draw at the Petrovskiy Stadium.
Zenit were strong favourites to emerge with all three points, but their aspirations were rocked when Belgian midfielder Witsel was somehow sent off for a late challenge on Florian Mader after clearly winning the ball in the centre of the park.
Despite having the numerical advantage for 55 minutes or so, Vienna never really displayed enough ambition to cut through the home side, who could easily have won it themselves late on with Hulk driving a free-kick inches wide of the visiting goal.
Hulk also saw an effort come back off the bar in the first period, but both sides were forced to settle for their first points of the section having lost on the opening day a fortnight ago.
Austria Vienna host Atletico Madrid on October 22 with Zenit visiting Porto on the same night.
PRE-MATCH - SHIROKOV ON BENCH: Roman Shirokov is on the bench after a groin problem with coach Luciano Spalletti indicating the midfielder would not be rushed back into action. Austria Vienna have a number of absentees for the trip to St Petersburg, with Alexander Gorgon, Alexander Gruenwald, Marko Stankovic, and Kaja Rogulj all out long-term. Emir Dilaver is also out having picked up a muscle injury at the weekend but Thomas Murg returns from a domestic ban. He is on the bench, but Daniel Royer starts.
13' - EFFORT HITS BAR: Hulk sees a shot come back off the woordwork after some bright play with Danny. So fortunate for Austria Vienna to survive that one.
20' - HULK SHOT: Fine diving stop by Lindner as he throws himself to his right to claw away the Hulk shot. Plenty of venom on the hit, but repelled by the Austria Vienna goalkeeper.
38' - HOSINER HIT: Philipp Hosiner drills an effort wide of the Zenit goal from distance. Clips a post on way past. Decent hit from 25 yards with Lodigin struggling to get across his line.
41' - WITSEL RED: Witsel has been sent off for a late challenge on Mader.
74' - HULK FREE-KICK: The Brazilian drives a free-kick narrowly wide of goal from distance.
Zenit finished the match with 56% possession - but it was Austria Wien who had more total attempts, with 18 to the home side's 16. Nine of those were on target, to Zenit's seven.
Both sides remain without a win in Group G. Zenit's next match is a trip to Porto, while Austria Wien will host Aletico Madrid.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alexander Anyukov (Zenit) - Defenders on top for most of this match. The Zenit defender was always impressive in covering space.
Zenit: Lodygin 6, Lombaerts 6, Hubočan 6, Smolnikov 6, Anyukov 7, Shatov 7, Fayzulin 7, Witsel 6, Hulk 7, Danny 6, Kerzhakov 5..subs: Shirokov 6, Arshavin 6, Shirokov 6
Austria Vienna: Lindner 7, Ortlechner 6, Ramsebner 6, Leovac 6, Suttner 6, Koch 6, Simkovic 6, Mader 7, Holland 6, Royer, 7 Hosiner 6..subs: Murg 6, Okotie 6, Kienast 6
THE MATCH IN A TWEET