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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 Zenits season and instilled an attacking flair to the teams 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 Brazilians swerving free kick. Krasnodar then drew level in the 52nd minute when a long ball allowed Brazilian midfielder Joaozinho to get behind Zenits 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 Dannys 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 Zenits 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 its training well, and showing good football.

Zenit now control their destiny in the league thanks to their win and former leaders Lokomotiv Moscows 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. Petersburgs 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 Kazans 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

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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