A stoppage time header from Roman Shirokov allowed Zenit to top visiting Rostov in the Russian Premier League match, which saw Igor Denisov returning to the Saint Petersburg side’s lineup.
Zenit spent most of the first half on Rostov’s side of the pitch, but the final touch was lacking, which allowed visiting keeper, Stipe Pletikosa, to go to the break unbeaten.
But on the 52nd minute he was helpless when Vladimir Bystrov shot into the near corner after a lovely one-two with Aleksandr Kerzhakov, 1-0.
Meanwhile, the much anticipated Igor Denisov’s return to the lineup took place eight minutes later as he entered the fold foe Viktor Faizulin.
The defensive midfielder refused to play until he got a pay raise to match the salaries of the St Pete side’s €80-million rookies, Hulk and Axel Witsel.
The conflict was settled on Thursday, without any changes made to the player’s contract with club.
But even Denisov’s presence couldn’t prevent Zenit from conceding in the 79th minute as Jan Holenda finished off one of Rostov’s rare counterattacks, 1-1.
There was another notable comeback in the St Pete side’s ranks, as Miguel Danny, who’s been injured since February, entered the game.
The visitor’s goal failed to steal Zenit’s thunder as they continued their attack and were awarded with a winner during the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Roman Shirokov beat Rostov’s defenders in the air to head past Pletikosa from close range and start celebrations at the Petrovsky stadium, 2-1.
The win saw Zenit catching up with CSKA on top of the table, with the Armymen as well as second-placed Anzhi, who are a point behind, still to play their games on Matchday 14.