Russia: CSKA and Zenit defeats ensure tight battle at the top (+video)
The Russian Premier League title race became more interesting this weekend following two major games involving four of the top six teams. In a capital derby Dinamo Moscow shocked their hosts CSKA Moscow by hitting four goals without reply whilst defending champions Zenit Saint Petersburg also had four put past them in a 4-2 defeat at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Any Moscow derby is a widely anticipated clash and Saturday’s game involving CSKA at home to Dinamo Moscow at the famous Luzhniki Stadium was no exception. In a tense contest the game looked to be heading towards a half-time stalemate but a double strike from Andriy Voronin and Kevin Kuranyi in the last ten minutes of the half gave Dinamo a useful 2-0 lead going in at the break. The game was over as a contest midway through the second half following Leandro Fernández’s strike in the 69th minute and the game was put to bed in the last minute of the match thanks to Aleksandr Kokorin.
Zenit Saint Petersburg appeared to be cruising to victory in their away match at Lokomotiv Moscow after going in 2-0 ahead at the half-time interval. Goals from Danko Lazović and Aleksandr Bukharov had given Zenit the two-goal margin after just half an hour so their collapse after the break was all the more surprising. Nigerian striker Victor Obinna immediately pulled one back after the break and his goal in the 46th minute was followed up by Felipe Caicedo and a brace from Manuel da Costa to secure an amazing 4-2 victory for the Railwaymen.
The current Russian Premier League table sees both Zenit and CSKA remain in joint first place with 46 points from 23 games but Dinamo Moscow trail the top two by just two points. Lokomotiv’s win took them up to sixth place with seven points separating them from the teams at the top.