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Zenit Retakes First Place

Published: April 16, 2014 (Issue # 1806)



  • Brazilian forward Hulk celebrates another goal.
    Photo: fc-zenit.ru

A hat-trick from Brazilian forward Hulk and another goal from Venezuelan striker Jose Salomon Rondon guided Zenit St. Petersburg to a 4-1 victory over Krasnodar on Apr. 12. The win, their fourth in a row, gives Zenit a one-point lead at the top of the Russian Premier League with five games left to play.

Since replacing Italian manager Luciano Spalletti following a drastic drop in form, Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas has rescued Zenit’s season and instilled an attacking flair to the team’s play that had disappeared after a strong start to the season. In the four games Villas-Boas has managed, the team has scored 14 goals compared to scoring only six in the seven games before his hiring.

Hulk opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Krasnodar goalkeeper Andrei Sinitsyn failed to punch away the Brazilian’s swerving free kick. Krasnodar then drew level in the 52nd minute when a long ball allowed Brazilian midfielder Joaozinho to get behind Zenit’s defense and shoot past goalkeeper Juri Lodygin.

Hulk doubled his tally for the day in the 64th minute when a corner kick found him unmarked and his shot took a wicked deflection off of Krasnodar defender Vitaly Kaleshin and into the back of the net.

Rondon sealed the win in the 81st minute after tapping home the rebound from Portuguese midfielder Danny’s shot and Hulk added another, his third of the day, in stoppage time with a low strike past a helpless Sinitsyn.

“This was an important victory, a very important one,” Villas-Boas told Zenit’s English-language website after the game. “I liked how the players were able to get together and played well after giving up a goal. I think the team will continue in the same spirit, since it’s training well, and showing good football.”

Zenit now control their destiny in the league thanks to their win and former leaders Lokomotiv Moscow’s 0-0 draw with last-place Anzhi Makhachkala on Sunday. If Zenit win the rest of their games, they will be league champions for the third time in four years.

The St. Petersburg’s club game against Lokomotiv in Moscow on May 4 now looks as if it may be the title decider. Before then, Zenit must travel to Makhachkala to face Anzhi, a team fighting to avoid relegation after failing to win in its first 19 games of the season, and play Volga Nizhny Novgorod at home.

Following their match in Moscow, Zenit will play host to rivals Dinamo Moscow before traveling to Krasnodar to face Kuban Krasnodar to conclude their season on May 15.

In other action from around the league, Spartak Moscow solidified their hold on fifth place in the league thanks to a 1-0 victory over Kryliya Sovetov on Apr. 11.

On Apr. 12, Tom Tomsk and Amkar Perm played out a 0-0 draw while CSKA Moscow stayed in third after defeating Ural 1-0. Terek Grozny earned their biggest win of the season, beating Rostov-Na-Donu 3-0 in Chechnya.

Rubin Kazan’s poor season continued as Kuban Krasnodar scored twice to win 2-0 on Sunday and increase the gap between the teams to four points.

Dinamo Moscow hammered Volga Nizhny Novgorod on the road 5-0 with five second-half goals from four different players Monday evening.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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