Zenit St Petersburg beat Dynamo Moscow to keep perfect start

Russian Premier league leaders Zenit St Petersburg beat visitors Dynamo Moscow on Saturday in a five-goal thriller to extend their winning streak to seven matches.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 14, 2014, 09:49 AM IST

Moscow: Russian Premier league leaders Zenit St Petersburg beat visitors Dynamo Moscow on Saturday in a five-goal thriller to extend their winning streak to seven matches.

An own-goal by Dynamo full back Douglas and goals from former Arsenal striker Andrei Arshavin and defender Igor Smolnikov set Zenit on their way to a 3-2 win to keep their perfect start to the season.

French international Mathieu Valbuena and Congo star Christopher Samba were on target for Dynamo, who now share the second spot with city rivals CSKA. 

Both Moscow sides are six points adrift of Zenit, who top the league on 21 points.

"The match was very intense. It was a good game as both teams played attacking football," Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas said.

"The result looks fair for me as we created plenty of chances and I think we deserved to win today."

Valbuena put Dynamo in front in the 18th minute lobbing the ball into the net from the edge of the box over helpless Zenit `keeper Yury Lodygin.

The hosts levelled 10 minutes later when Italian back Domenico Criscito`s low shot ricocheted off Dynamo goalie Roman Berezovsky into Brazilian back Douglas and into the net.

Zenit grabbed the lead five minutes before the break, when Arshavin received a feeding pass from Brazilian Hulk on the edge of the area and hammered the ball in past Berezovsky.

After the break Dynamo moved up a gear and Samba headed home an equaliser from Valbuena`s well-struck freekick in the 82nd minute but Smolnikov netted Zenit`s winner from close range on Miguel Danny`s pinpoint pass into the area with just a minute to go.

Meanwhile, reigning champions CSKA Moscow recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win over newly-promoted Arsenal Tula to go second.

Israeli international midfielder Bebars Natcho put the Red Army side 1-0 up in the 20th minute from the spot after Arsenal striker Artur Maloyan played handball in his box.

The guests equalised five minutes after the interval through midfielder Alexander Zotov but Finland international Roman Ereomenko netted CSKA`s winner in the 78th minute sending the ball in with a low sharp-angled shot.

"It`s always hard to play after the break for international matches," CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky said. 

"We lacked freshness and failed to close down the match in the first half. 

"Luckily, Roman (Ereomenko) did well as he scored a spectacular winning goal."