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Zenit Retakes First Place

Published: April 16, 2014 (Issue # 1806)



  • Brazilian forward Hulk celebrates another goal.
    Photo: fc-zenit.ru

A hat-trick from Brazilian forward Hulk and another goal from Venezuelan striker Jose Salomon Rondon guided Zenit St. Petersburg to a 4-1 victory over Krasnodar on Apr. 12. The win, their fourth in a row, gives Zenit a one-point lead at the top of the Russian Premier League with five games left to play.

Since replacing Italian manager Luciano Spalletti following a drastic drop in form, Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas has rescued Zenits season and instilled an attacking flair to the teams play that had disappeared after a strong start to the season. In the four games Villas-Boas has managed, the team has scored 14 goals compared to scoring only six in the seven games before his hiring.

Hulk opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Krasnodar goalkeeper Andrei Sinitsyn failed to punch away the Brazilians swerving free kick. Krasnodar then drew level in the 52nd minute when a long ball allowed Brazilian midfielder Joaozinho to get behind Zenits defense and shoot past goalkeeper Juri Lodygin.

Hulk doubled his tally for the day in the 64th minute when a corner kick found him unmarked and his shot took a wicked deflection off of Krasnodar defender Vitaly Kaleshin and into the back of the net.

Rondon sealed the win in the 81st minute after tapping home the rebound from Portuguese midfielder Dannys shot and Hulk added another, his third of the day, in stoppage time with a low strike past a helpless Sinitsyn.

This was an important victory, a very important one, Villas-Boas told Zenits English-language website after the game. I liked how the players were able to get together and played well after giving up a goal. I think the team will continue in the same spirit, since its training well, and showing good football.

Zenit now control their destiny in the league thanks to their win and former leaders Lokomotiv Moscows 0-0 draw with last-place Anzhi Makhachkala on Sunday. If Zenit win the rest of their games, they will be league champions for the third time in four years.

The St. Petersburgs club game against Lokomotiv in Moscow on May 4 now looks as if it may be the title decider. Before then, Zenit must travel to Makhachkala to face Anzhi, a team fighting to avoid relegation after failing to win in its first 19 games of the season, and play Volga Nizhny Novgorod at home.

Following their match in Moscow, Zenit will play host to rivals Dinamo Moscow before traveling to Krasnodar to face Kuban Krasnodar to conclude their season on May 15.

In other action from around the league, Spartak Moscow solidified their hold on fifth place in the league thanks to a 1-0 victory over Kryliya Sovetov on Apr. 11.

On Apr. 12, Tom Tomsk and Amkar Perm played out a 0-0 draw while CSKA Moscow stayed in third after defeating Ural 1-0. Terek Grozny earned their biggest win of the season, beating Rostov-Na-Donu 3-0 in Chechnya.

Rubin Kazans poor season continued as Kuban Krasnodar scored twice to win 2-0 on Sunday and increase the gap between the teams to four points.

Dinamo Moscow hammered Volga Nizhny Novgorod on the road 5-0 with five second-half goals from four different players Monday evening.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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