GROUP A (Champions’ Group)
KUBAN KRASNODAR 2 – 2 ZENIT ST. PETERSBURG was almost the upset of the weekend with the home side two-up with only 17mins to play after a fantastic brace from Lasina Traore, tearing through Zenit for his first before heading in his second. But Andrei Arshavin netted on 79mins, his second in two games, then a minute later Roman Shirokov blasted-in a loose ball from close range to save a point.
As it turned out, Zenit remained 12 points clear, with only 12 points left to play for now, as Spartak Moscow crashed to a home defeat to Guus Hiddink’s Anzhi - SPARTAK MOSCOW 0 – 3 ANZHI MAKHACHKALA definitely the upset of the weekend.
Spartak had been accelerating up the table and Dzyuba clattered against the bar early on but after Samuel Eto’o opened the scoring on 39mins, his first goal in seven games, Anzhi didn’t look back and Lakhiyalov and an own goal from Pareja added to insult to injury – Spartak, after all, were hoping to honour the memory of various veterans in attendance for the club’s 90th birthday. But victory for the cash-rich Young Turks from Dagestan meant Spartak slipped to third place with Anzhi getting ever closer to fifth and European qualification.
DYNAMO MOSCOW 1 – 0 CSKA MOSCOW saw Dynamo leapfrogging into second place courtesy of Zvezdan Misimovic. An enigmatic presence in his debut season, due to injury, Misimovic struck the winner on 18mins, lashing-in the pass from Dzsudzsak who was himself enjoying a rare start and performing with elan coming in off the right wing. As for CSKA, no win in five leaves them in fourth and, on this form in danger of missing out on Europe altogether.
Across town Lokomotiv enjoyed the lion’s share of their game against Rubin but due to missing their chances and the usual obstinacy from Kurban Berdiev’s team we ended with LOKOMOTIV MOSCOW 0 – 0 RUBIN KAZAN. The form of Loko’s central defensive pairing of Taras Burlak and Maksim Belyaev continued to impress and further make their case to start for Russia at the Euros this summer ahead of the tried, tested but tired-looking CSKA defenders. Rubin dropped out of the European spots after this result with Loko staying fifth.
GROUP B (Relegation Group)
Football is a cruel mistress at times and after last week’s Trojan effort Tom Tomsk fell to defeat this, meaning the slim chance they gave themselves of scraping into the relegation play-offs have all but evaporated after being well beaten. VOLGA NIZHNY NOVGOROD 2 – 0 TOM TOMSK was decided by two penalties converted by Kirilov then Karyaka, putting Volga nine points beyond fifteenth-placed Tomsk in the final relegation berth.
KRYLIA SOVETOV SAMARA 2 – 1 ROSTOV was a sensational result for the Samarans as it gives them every chance of climbing out of the relegation play-off places as they drew level on points with their opponents after this victory. Sergei Kornilenko held his nerve to score a last-minute penalty in order to seal a second brace in two games for the ex-Blackpool player. This could be a very big turning point for both clubs.
A Nikolai Markov goal after 28mins saw FC Krasnodar win away in Chechnya. TEREK GROZNY 0 – 1 FC KRASNODAR meant that Terek, currently in eleventh place, may yet be sucked into the relegation dogfight. Krasnodar are safe in ninth.
Amkar Perm have also surely cemented their place in the RPL for another season after defeating hapless Nalchik. AMKAR PERM 1 – 0 SPARTAK NALCHIK was decided by Vitaly Grishin’s close-range finish on 34mins, largely thanks to appalling defending. It’s no shock that Nalchik are all but relegated; eleven points off safety with 12 to play for, it’s only the maths that spares them for another game.
You can contact Alex by following him on Twitter via @alrobjack
Tags: Anzhi Makhachkala, CSKA Moscow, Samuel Eto'o, Spartak Moscow, Zenit St.Petersburg