Zenit Saint Petersburg played a 1-1 draw against visiting Anzhi Makhachkala at an empty Petrovsky stadium, in the last Russian football match of the year.
Zenit Saint Petersburg 1-1 Anzhi Makhachkala
It was the second game Zenit had to play without spectators as a punishment for injuries to Dynamo Moscow keeper Anton Shunin after Zenit fans threw flares on the pitch on November 17.
Anzhi were the better side from the start, and their goal on the 24th minute looked well-deserved.
An unmarked Joao Carlos headed in from close range after a perfect cross by Yury Zhirkov, 0-1.
Zenit managed to push the game away from their goals only in the end of the half, but still left for the break without a single shot on target.
Anzhi’s Lacina Traore hit the post soon after the restart, but the initiative was already in Zenit’s hands.
Makhachkala keeper Vladimir Gabulov saved his team after an effort from Hulk on the 63rd minute.
But three minutes later, he was helpless as Konstantin Zyrianov shot from point blank after an assist from Aleksandr Anyukov, 1-1.
Zenit finished the game with ten men as Danny received a straight red card for saying something rude to the referee.
The draw means CSKA Moscow will go to winter break as the Russian Premier League leaders, with 43 points in the bag.
Anzhi sit second two points behind, with defending champions Zenit concluding the Top 3 on 38 points.
Rubin Kazan 0-1 Spartak Moscow
One could’ve expected a more lively game from the teams, considering the fact that it was minus 10 Celsius in Kazan.
But the first half was calm and uneventful, with Spartak opening the score only after the restart.
Rubin missed out on a speedy counterattack from the visitors, which culminated in Aiden McGeady scoring into an empty net after a great assist from Jose Jurado on the hour mark, 0-1.
Kazan coach Kurban Berdyev introduced extra striker Sergey Davydov into the game, but the home side couldn’t create an equalizer.
On the contrary, it was Spartak who came closer to doubling their lead, with Artem Dzyuba and Sergey Bryzgalov missing from good positions.
Their first win after Valery Karpin’s comeback as the Spartak coach allowed the Muscovites to leapfrog Rubin for sixth place in the standings.
The Russian Premier League action will resume in spring, with Matchday 20 scheduled for March 9.