Zenit St. Petersburg have increased the gap at the top of the Russian Premier League to nine points after beating Spartak Moscow in a hard battle in the Russian capital.
Veteran Sergey Semak opened the scoring just ten minutes in, hitting a tremendous first-timer past Andriy Dikan and in off the crossbar. Spartak had two chances to level things on the pitch in the first half, but first their Nigerian striker Emanuel Emenike failed to beat Zenit keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev from close range, and then Dmitry Kombarov hit the bar after an injury time free-kick.
And Spartak were punished for their wastage. Zenit doubled the lead from the penalty spot after Aleksander Kerzhakov was fouled by Nicolas Pareja at 63 minutes. The Russian striker thumped past Spartak goalkeeper Andrey Dikan, who was still slightly dazed after a collision with Kerzhakov's knee a few minutes earlier. The Ukrainian, who was diagnosed with a concussion after the game, had to leave the pitch a few moments later.
Artem Dzyuba gave Spartak hope a five minutes from time with a smart turn and shot in the box, but the hosts couldn't make their late pressure count.
Kuban 1-1 CSKA
CSKA’s top scorer Seydou Doumbia put the visitors ahead, increasing his Russian Premier League tally to 27 when he nodded in Zoran Tosic’s curling free kick at 71 minutes.
But a debut goal from FC Kuban's 20-year-old striker Anton Sekret dealt a severe blow to the Armymen’s hopes of lifting the Russian Premier League trophy. Sekret exploited space behind the CSKA defense to equalize from close range with just two minutes remaining.
Krylya Sovetov 1-1 Krasnodar
In the Relegation Group, Sergey Kornilenko's second-half strike helped Krylya Sovetov recover after Oleg Samsonov’s spectacular opener and finish even with ten-man FC Krasnodar.
Spartak Nalchik 0-2 Tom
Earlier on Friday, Tom ended months at the bottom of the table as their 2-0 win at Spartak Nalchik lifted the Siberians to 15th.
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