Only three games remaining after this weeks fixtures. The top three of Zenit, Lokomotiv and CSKA continue to defeat anyone that comes in front of them. The Europa League challengers all lose while the teams in the relegation places all pick up what could prove to be vital points. Volga were the only side in the bottom six to lose and Anzhi are just about hanging onto RPL football.
Lokomotiv needed to keep the pressure on Zenit while Krasnodar needed a win to put the pressure on Spartak and Dinamo in their race for European football. Lokomotiv weren’t messing around as they took the lead after just six minutes. Sheshukov was able to get free down the left before playing the ball to Pavlyuchenko who produced a lovely flick to Miranchuk, the eighteen year old burst through on goal and delightfully lifted his shot over Filtsov for his first goal of the season. Wanderson almost managed to get Krasnodar level when he run from his own half taking on three defenders before his shot stung the hands of Abaev. Despite failing to miss a number of chances Krasnodar weren’t punished, instead they were level just before the break. Shirokov’s long ball was flicked on by Pereyra, this allowed Joãozinho to race in and tuck the ball past Abaev. Lokomotiv could have taken a lead into the break after Samedov’s corner was cleared by the hand of Kaleshin. The reliable Samedov stepped up to take the penalty but he could only put the spot kick wide.
Early in the second half Denisov breezed past players with ease as he went on a great run down the left, sadly for him his strike forced Filtsov into making a brilliant fingertip save. Abaev almost gifted Krasnodar a goal, Ari played in Wanderson who’s shot looked like it would be a comfortable save, but that wasn’t to be as Abaev spilled it and fortunately for him Ďurica was alert to clear off the line before Ari could tap in. Krasnodar continued to push, Gazinskiy lofted a quality cross in towards the back post to find Shipitsin, the substitute’s header was kept out by the frame of the goal. Denisov was able to burst through once again after a lovely through ball from N’Doye, Denisov went for a cheeky lob over Filtsov but the keeper was aware and was able to easily catch. Krasnodar came very close once more, this time Petrov struck a fantastic effort from outside the area only to be denied by the post, the woodwork certainly Lokomotiv’s twelve man. Lokomotiv took a late lead in the 92nd minute, Sheshukov’s ball into the box was only cleared to Samedov who’s low curling effort found the bottom corner, Filtsov will be disappointed having got a touch on it and it was a shot he should’ve saved. The scoring didn’t finish there, in the 95th minute Samedov grabbed his second. A terrific ball over the top from Denisov found Ozdoev, the substitute was through on goal but unselfishly gave the ball to Samedov, he then took the ball round the keeper and squeezed it in from a tight angle. A terrific game of football, the scoreline doesn’t reflect well on what was a very close game and one Krasnodar probably should have got at least a point from.
There was only one way this game was going and that was a Zenit win. Shatov came close early on, a great run into the box before firing a shot across goal and just wide. Zenit took the lead in fantastic fashion, Witsel found Shatov, who gave the ball to Danny, the Portuguese midfielder wasted no time in giving the ball straight to Witsel who took a touch before drilling his shot into the bottom corner. The hosts soon had a penalty when Faizulin’s freekick struck the wall and Leandro’s hand. Danny was the man to take responsibility and he may wish he didn’t after he put his spot kick wide. Danny almost made up for his penalty miss when Shatov played a lovely pass through a defenders legs, after some nice footwork from Danny his shot took a slight deflection which took it onto the post. Danny grabbed his second assist of the game when he laid the ball off to Faizulin who fantastically drilled his shot into the bottom corner leaving Pareiko without much chance. Volga didn’t provide much threat but they did manage to call Lodygin into some late action when a long ball over the top saw Sarkisov one-on-one with the keeper but Lodygin came out on top. Another victory for Zenit as they still haven’t drawn or lost since AVB’s arrival. Volga couldn’t build on last weeks victory and now sit four points behind Tom.
CSKA are comfortably in third place, while it looks like their visitors Rubin will stay in tenth place. CSKA got off to a good start and eventually took the lead after thirteen minutes, Kislyak poked the ball away from Doumbia but unfortunately for him he poked the ball straight to Dzagoev who took his gift by hammering his chance into the bottom corner. For the hosts Schennikov couldn’t get enough contact on the ball after Tošić’s cross, then for Rubin Dević tried his luck but it was a comfortable save for Akinfeev. Three minutes into the second half Rubin were level, Dević’s pull back took a slight deflection off Schennikov and into the path of Prudnikov who’s shot went in after hitting Elm. Rubin could only stay level for five minutes, Doumbia went down at the back post after a great cross from Tošić, the penalty was a bit harsh on Rubin. CSKA weren’t complaining and Doumbia comfortably stepped up to smash his penalty past Ryzhikov. That result means Rubin will now be looking over their shoulder as Terek sit just two points behind. CSKA can’t be stopped at the moment and they’ve now won an impressive seven games in a row.
This was a massive game for Anzhi and their fans, if they failed to take at least a point from their trip to Rostov they would be down. Rostov were on top in the early stages, however they weren’t testing Kerzhakov in the Anzhi goal. The early pressure paid off, in the 22nd minute Logashov was brought down in the area and Dzyuba sent Kerzhakov the wrong way and gave the hosts the lead. Anzhi had a couple of attempts in the first half but weren’t able to hit the target. In the second half they came close when Gadzhiev’s cross found Bukharov, his header hitting the top of the bar before going out for a goalkick. Just after the hour mark Rostov were down to ten men, Gaţcan picked up his second booking after a late challenge on Bystrov. Anzhi had the ball in the back of the net when Bystrov did brilliantly to beat two defenders and poke the ball past Pletikosa, despite the ball about to roll over the line Smolov felt the need to tap in, bad decision as he was stood offside, Bystrov certainly wasn’t happy. Luckily for Smolov Anzhi were able to score. Great link up play between Serderov and Smolov saw the latter force Pletikosa into a great save, however Bystrov was there to control before Bilyaletdinov put Anzhi level. Rostov were then reduced to nine men in the 89th minute, four minutes after coming on Sinama-Pongolle was given a straight red. It was a harsh decision Sinama-Pongolle went for a header and accidentally caught Grigalava with his elbow. Anzhi almost grabbed a late winner, the ball found its way to Smolov who thought his curling effort was in but Pletikosa managed to make a tremendous save to deny him. What could have been for Anzhi, a vital point but they could have won the game had Smolov left Bystrov’s shot. On the bright side they have RPL status for another week.
Two sides that are in terrible form and they both produced a better game than expected. Kanunnikov almost gave the visitors the lead after seventeen minutes and what a goal it would’ve been. The twenty-two year old cut back to the edge of the area and unleashed a great powerful strike, only to be denied by the crossbar. Amkar scored from the spot shortly after as Ogude was brought down by Makhmudov, Peev stepped up a delightfully chipped it down the middle. Krylya pushed for a way back, first up was Kornilenko who’s shot rolled straight into the arms of Narubin. Then Narubin didn’t clear a cross with his poor punch, this allowed Krylya the chance to cross again but Caballero could only direct his header wide.
In the second half Peev stung the hands of Vavilin when he struck a powerful long range shot straight at him. Vavilin was also on hand to save Ogude’s effort which was heading for the top corner before making a terrific save with his foot to deny Nikitin’s effort after Kolomeytsev’s shot was blocked. The equaliser for Krylya came in the 65th minute. Adzhindzhal’s cross was flicked on by Delkin and Nemov was tackled to the ground at the back post. Kornilenko stepped up but he was denied by a good Narubin save, however he was given the chance to tap in the rebound, certainly not the prettiest goal you’ll see. Six minutes later Krylya lead, Kornilenko this time was the provider as Delkin directed his pass into the net despite Narubin getting a hand to it. Amkar were level six minutes after going behind, a ball through struck the outstretched leg of Adzhindzhal which directed the ball to Peev, the Amkar captain making no mistakes as he drilled his shot past Vavilin. A vital point for both sides, Amkar manage to stay in seventh while Krylya edge further away from the automatic relegation places.
Both teams went into this game on the back of a defeat, Terek lost to Lokomotiv while Dinamo were defeated by Krasnodar. The first half was evenly contested and both sides missed good opportunities, Terek struck most of theirs straight at Gabulov but Maurício did come close with a optimistic overhead kick which flew just wide. Kokorin saw his shot from distance flash wide and then Kuranyi missed a golden chance from a few yards out as he failed to get enough contact on a quality cross in. Terek took the lead in the 54th minute after a terrific team goal. Maurício picked up the ball, played it to Utsiev who played it to Rybus, the Polish midfielder gave the ball back to Maurício who cut inside to play a lovely one-two around a defender with Aílton Almeida before firing a rocket of a shot into the top corner leaving Gabulov with no chance. The closest Dinamo came to a response was when Kokrin was found with plenty of space in the box but he lost his composure and hit his shot straight at Godzyur. Terek continued to look for more goals and came close a number of times, the closest was Aílton Almeida who came in from the left to beat a defender before seeing his shot flash across goal and wide. Terek deserved all three points and they are looking well on course for another season in the RPL.
Spartak have had a shocking few months and if they aren’t careful they may lose out on European football. Kuban have also struggled but over the last four games they’ve started to pick up results. A poor freekick almost lead to a Kuban counter attack and then with men forward Spartak poorly gave the ball away and Kuban were able to hit them on the break in impressive style. A lovely ball through to Khubulov had Spartak in deep trouble, he had time and space to pick out Popov who easily tucked the ball past Dikan with the outside of his foot. Kuban sealed the win four minutes from time, a well worked goal saw Ignatyev beat a defender before playing a lovely cross to Popov who headed home from four yards out. Kuban are in 9th place and will only be looking up as they look to overtake Rostov and Amkar. Spartak on the other hand need to pick up their form as quick as possible in order to hold off the challenge from Krasnodar.
Ural and Tom have done very well since the winter break and the two relegation battlers went into the game after both earning victories last week. There were only a handful of chances in the first half, most of which were comfortably dealt with by the keepers. Nekhajchik came very close to breaking the deadlock in the second half, he cut inside and fired a quality shot towards goal, Zabolotnyi managed to get across to make a good save. Ural had the chance to score when a clearance found Gogniev, only to be pushed over by Mureşan. The penalty was given, Gogniev stepped up but it wasn’t a great penalty, Cebanu guessed correctly and made the save. It was a cold day in Yekaterinburg, snow (yes I said snow) covered the empty seats around the ground and around the pitch, unfortunately for the fans that braved the cold weather they weren’t able to heat themselves up by celebrating a goal.
League Table and Results