Zenit thrash Mordovia to extend lead over CSKA
Zenit St Petersburg dished out a 5-0 drubbing to Mordovia Saransk on Sunday to end a two-match winless sequence and extend their lead in the Russian Premier League.
Moscow: Zenit St Petersburg dished out a 5-0 drubbing to Mordovia Saransk on Sunday to end a two-match winless sequence and extend their lead in the Russian Premier League.
Goals by Hulk, Alexander Kerzhakov, Axel Witsel and Miguel Danny set the Saint Petersburg outfit on their way to a confident win.
Zenit are now four points clear of reigning champions CSKA Moscow who were held to a 3-3 draw by Ufa.
After a goalless first half Zenit moved up a gear and in the 50th minute Hulk received a precise pass by Ezequiel Garay in the box and fired the ball home with a low shot from 13 metres out.
Five minutes later Kerzhakov had the home crowd on their feet again as he sent the ball into the net with an acrobatic overhead shot past helpless Mordovia `keeper Anton Kochenkov.
In the 61st minute the visitors` midfielder Ruslan Nahushev made it 3-0 for Zenit as he sent the ball into his own net, while Witsel and Danny added one apiece to complete the rout.
"We experienced certain difficulties in the beginning returning to action after the Champions League match and missed a lot of passing," Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas said.
"It was very important to score the first goal. As soon as we scored the first the confidence came back and our players started to play fantastic football."
CSKA meanwhile found themselves trailing 1-0 after Ufa defender Brown Forbes poked the ball home after a corner in the 12th minute.
CSKA levelled in the 43rd minute through their defender Vasily Berezutsky but in the 50th minute Ufa regained the lead again when Bosnian forward Haris Handzic picked up the ball in the area and sent a rebound into the corner afer the guests `keeper Igor Akinfeyev deflected his initial shot.
Israeli international Bebars Natcho pulled the scores level at 2-2 nine minutes later with a precise spotkick after Ufa defenders fouled Seydou Doumbia in the box.
Ufa substitute midfielder Nikolai Safronidi scored the hosts` third with three minutes remaining but Natcho saved the day for CSKA with his second penalty kick in the stoppage time.
"We obviously lacked freshness today," CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky said.
"Possibly we failed to recover completely after the Champions` League match with Manchester City."
In Sunday`s other match nine-time former champions Spartak Moscow were held to a 1-1 draw by city rivals Lokomotiv.
Portuguese midfielder Fernandes lifted Lokomotiv 1-0 up in the 84th minute but Spartak playmaker Roman Shirokov marked his comeback after an injury that prevented his from playing at the World Cup as he levelled with an eight-metre header just three minutes later.
"I`m happy to score in the first match on my return," Shirokov said.
"But I`m not really pleased with my debut as Spartak failed to win."