CIS Cup: Zenit and Dynamo progress; Group Stage Review
The 2011 Commonwealth of Independent States Cup, currently being held in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg, has completed its group stages and the sixteen teams at the start of the tournament have now been whittled down to eight. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest developments in the competition.
Local representatives Zenit St Petersburg may have sent a team comprising of youth players to the tournament but they managed to make it to the last eight of the competition when finishing second in Group C. Both Zenit and Belarussians Schakhtsyor Saligorsk won two and drew one of their three games with the latter having a superior goal difference thanks mainly to a 6-0 win over Flora Tallinn in their final group match. Zenit weren’t so spectacular in the group phase, only scoring four goals compared to Schakhtsyor’s total of nine, but they did what they had to in order to go through.
Dynamo Kyiv, record winners of this event with four titles, also progressed to the last eight despite not winning a game when finishing third in Group D. This is because the Russian Under-21 side, who won two out of their three games, is unable to progress beyond the group stage due to their participation being an hors concours invitation, therefore allowing Dynamo to join Finnish champions HJK Helsinki out of the group stage meaning Lithuanians FK Ekranas miss out. In Group B Latvian champions Skonto Riga kept up their wonderful early pre-season campaign under new coach Marians Pahars by topping the group with seven points out of nine to reach the quarter-finals along with second place Mika FC. The Armenians scraped past Kazakhstan’s FC Tobol Kostanay thanks to goal difference with both teams having an identical record after three games. Azerbaijan’s Inter Baku won all three games in Group A to accumulate nine points and finish three points ahead of Tajikistan participants Istiqlol Dushanbe who also got through to the quarter-finals in their maiden CIS Cup appearance.
Inter Baku (Azerbaijan) v Mika FC (Armenia)
Skonto Riga (Latvia) v Istiqlol Dushanbe (Tajikistan)
Schakhtsyor Soligorsk (Belarus) v Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine)
Zenit St Petersburg (Russia) v HJK Helsinki (Finland)
The four quarter-final matches will be played on Wednesday, January 19th