Russia: Zenit finally cross the line to win second league title
Luciano Spalletti has led Zenit St Petersburg to the Russian Premier League title in his first season in charge. The success means that Zenit have won the league championship twice in the last four years and ends the two year reign of deposed champions Rubin Kazan. The victory also continues the duration in which a Moscovite club has not won the league title, the last club from the capital who won the championship was CSKA Moscow in 2006.
Zenit St Petersburg had a glorious chance to secure the championship earlier in the week at home to CSKA Moscow, the only team with any chance of preventing them from winning the league. However things didn’t go according to plan and CSKA Moscow won the match 3-1 in order to keep the title race interesting for another couple of days at least. Any doubts that Zenit may have had were quietly dispelled during their game on Sunday against FC Rostov who were simply overwhemed by their hosts in a 5-0 defeat. Danko Lazović’s 40th minute penalty was all that separated the two teams at half-time and the visitors continued to make life difficult for Zenit until the final fifteen minutes of the game during which the floodgates opened. Sergei Semak doubled Zenit’s lead in the 75th minute before further goals from top scorer Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Aleksandr Bukharov (2) sealed a fantastic win for the St Petersburg side whose second Russian Premier League title was sealed following CSKA Moscow’s failure to win away at Spartak Nalchik.
For Italian coach Luciano Spalletti it has been a truly remarkable first season in the Russian game in which he has won both the 2010 Russian League and 2009-10 Russian Cup – which was won in May against Sibir Novosibirsk – as well as having a wonderful time in the UEFA Europa League in which Zenit currently lead Group G with a 100% record after four matches.