Russian Premier League – Week 28 Review

Three games remain of the season and it’s finally arrived! Zenit travelled to Moscow to face their title rivals Lokomotiv. Elsewhere the last Europa League place changed hands and Anzhi continue to hold onto their RPL status and could still produce a miracle.

Zenit and Lokomotiv couldn't be separated in their battle for the RPL crown.

Zenit and Lokomotiv couldn’t be separated in their battle for the RPL crown.

Lokomotiv Moscow 1-1 Zenit St. Petersburg.

This was the big one, a win for either side would edge them even closer to the league title. If Zenit were to win they would move four points clear of Lokomotiv, while a win for the hosts would see them move up to top spot and two points clear. Both haven’t tasted defeat in quite some time, Zenit have won six on the bounce under AVB and Lokomotiv haven’t lost in their last eleven games, four of them draws.

Lokomotiv got off to a bright start, Samedov’s cross from the right found N’Doye who’s header forced a save out of Lodygin. Lokomotiv came close once again after nineteen minutes, N’Doye was brought down by Neto and with the resulting freekick Samedov’s effort cannoned off the crossbar before Ďurica headed the rebound wide. Despite their efforts Lokomotiv didn’t take the lead and in the 35th minute they fell behind. Ďurica’s poor clearance fell to Rondón who brought the ball down with his chest before firing a fantastic drilled shot through Ďurica’s legs and into the bottom. In the second half we saw a change of referee as Aleksandr Egorov was forced off by injury and Dmitry Cheltsov replaced him. Shortly after Danny did brilliantly to get past Ďurica with some lovely skill, the Portuguese midfielder pulled the ball back to Shatov, but Shishkin tracked him well and was able to make a vital tackle. Lokomotiv were level in the 76th minute, Boussoufa’s cross seemed like a simple catch for Lodygin but the Zenit keeper spilled it straight to Tkachev who welcomed the gift and the Lokomotiv Stadium erupted. The last bit of action saw Boussoufa delightfully getting pasted Anyukov and Tymoshchuk before putting in a teasing cross, Pavlyuchenko was inches away but the cross fell into the arms of Lodygin. A draw isn’t the worst thing for either side, Zenit still lead at the top and Lokomotiv will be ready if Zenit slip up against Dinamo and Kuban in their last two games. Lokomotiv have to visit Rostov and CSKA, two tough games for both sides and its still hard to call who will take the title.

Amkar Perm’ 1-3 CSKA Moscow

One of the most out of form sides in the league up against the side with the best form in the league. Amkar find themselves with nothing to play for, they can’t achieve any higher than seventh place or any lower than tenth, just as well as they can’t buy a win at the minute having failed to get three points in their last seven. CSKA on the other hand have won their last seven and they were looking to put the pressure on Lokomotiv by making it eight wins in a row.

CSKA took the lead six minutes before the break, Tošić played the ball to Berezutski who charged forward from the back, he delivered a first time pass to Dzagoev was was left unmarked to slide the ball in. Amkar almost found a way back into the game when Peev’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Kurzenev, his header looped over Akinfeev but the Russian keeper was able to react and claw the ball off the line, Mário Fernandes was there to knock the ball out for a corner. The resulting corner saw Kurzenev come close again, another header at the near post but this time his effort landed on the roof of the net. Amkar were finally level just before half time. Kanunnikov pulled the ball back to the edge of the area to Peev and the Amkar captain struck a powerful low effort which proved too quick for Akinfeev to deal with. Ten minutes into the second half CSKA restored their lead, Tošić struck a brilliant freekick which beat Narubin, striking the post before heading in. Towards the end of the game CSKA grabbed a third, Tošić’s corner found its way to Doumbia, his first effort was saved by Narubin but he made no mistake with the rebound as he stuck it in with his left foot. CSKA move to within a point of Lokomotiv, two away from Zenit and they sit comfortably nine points ahead of Dinamo in fourth. That loss sees Amkar move down one place to eighth.

Rostov 2-3 Dinamo Moscow

Dinamo headed into the game on the back of two defeats and were looking to turn things around and reclaim fourth spot. Rostov on the other hand are comfortably in mid-table and were getting ready for their Cup final against Krasnodar. Dinamo stunned their hosts by scoring within the first minute, Kokorin won two headers after a long ball upfield, Ionov then played the ball back to Noboa who quickly returned the ball, slipping a pass through the defence for Ionov to tuck his shot through Pletikosa’s legs and in. In the 17th minute Ionov scored his and Dinamo’s second, Yusupov played him in and the 25-year-old turned before producing some lovely skill in order to get away from Djakov and fire past Pletikosa. Rostov came very close to responding when Milić’s fantastic cross from the left found Georgiy Gabulov but the Rostov midfielder could only direct his header just wide, his older brother Vladimir wasn’t happy with his side’s defending. In the second half Rostov came close once again, Djakov stepped up to try his luck with a freekick and unfortunately for the defender his effort was kept out by the crossbar. Dinamo made it 3-0 in the 68th minute, Lomić’s cross wasn’t headed away by Bastos and this left Kokorin with a free header at the back post. With fifteen minutes remaining Rostov were finally able to find the back of the net, Kalachev’s cross from just inside the area was perfect for Dzyuba to raise and head in from close range. Dinamo had the chance to stop any comeback when Bastos clipped Kokorin’s heels inside the area, Noboa stepped up for Dinamo but Pletikosa dived the correct way and saved the spot kick. Rostov were able to get a second with five minutes remaining, Byung-Soo Yoo came in from the left and his cross somehow curled into the corner. It proved too late for Rostov and they’ve now gone four league games without a win. It was a much welcomed victory for Dinamo as they reclaim fourth and sit three points above Krasnodar.

Tom' Tomsk celebrate their second goal as they see off Spartak Moscow.

Tom’ Tomsk celebrate their second goal as they see off Spartak Moscow.

Tom’ Tomsk 2-1 Spartak Moscow

Spartak went into this game knowing they needed a win after both Dinamo and Krasnodar picked up wins. Tom on the other hand were hoping for three points to help them in their fight against the drop. Movsisyan had a golden chance early on, Jurado held off his marker before playing the ball out wide to Dmitri Kombarov who delivered a terrific low cross to Movsisyan but the Armenian striker was denied by Cebanu despite only being a few yards out, Bordachev was able to knock the ball out for a corner before anyone could tap in.  Tom were causing plenty of problems on the break and they finally grabbed a much deserved lead in the 53rd minute. Portnyagin was brought down by Bocchetti and Panchenko was the man that stepped up and comfortably sent Dikan the wrong way. However four minutes later Tom found themselves down to ten men as Nekhajchik was given a straight red for an elbow on Yakovlev, for me it didn’t look like he intended it. This didn’t seem to effect much as a few minutes later, in the 61st minute Tom doubled their lead. Panchenko whipped in a corner and Portnyagin was able to powerfully head past Dikan at the near post. Despite going two down Spartak still struggled to add anymore intensity up front, however they finally produced a rare clear cut chance when Dmitri Kombarov crossed from the left, for once Tom switched off and a unmarked Movsisyan controlled and unleashed a unstoppable shot past Cebanu, making it 2-1. In the 90th minute Spartak were reduced to ten men, a poor pass at the back saw Bashkirov through on goal but his attempted lob over Dikan was slapped away by the Spartak keeper outside his area. Tom deserved that victory and it means they move up to twelfth while Spartak drop to sixth place after another poor performance.

Volga 0-1 Krasnodar

The home side were hoping for a morale boosting result ahead of two massive games against sides around them. While Krasnodar were hoping to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Lokomtoiv ahead of their Cup final. Volga had a penalty shout correctly turned down, Mukendi burst into the box with some skill but went down looking for contact off Sigurdsson. Wanderson came close for the visitors, a lovely long ball over the top found Wanderson who brought the ball down well before his shot was flicked over by the fingertips of Pareiko. Krasnodar took the lead in the 15th minute after some lovely link up play, Wanderson played the ball out wide to Joãozinho who then played the ball through to Ari, the former Spartak man calmly passed his strike into the bottom corner. The rest of the half saw plenty of shots flying over and wide as the rain poured down. Soon after the restart a ball into the box was punched away by Sinitsyn but it struck the referee and fell perfectly for Aldonin, his effort from the edge of the area flashed just wide. Fifteen minutes from time Volga were awarded a penalty after a clearance struck the hands of Márcio Abreu. Karyaka stepped up but Sinitsyn dived the correct way and was able to keep the penalty out. Five minutes from time Volga were reduced to ten men, Sarkisov picked up his second yellow for something he said to the referee. Ari had a golden chance to get his second of the game late on but the striker directed his shot straight at Pareiko who was able to save. Volga need to win both their remaining games in order to grab a relegation play off spot but they will also need Krylya to lose both their games. That win sees Krasnodar move up to fifth place after Spartak failed to win on Saturday.

Anzhi celebrate as Bilyaletdinov wraps up the points.

Anzhi celebrate as Bilyaletdinov wraps up the points.

Anzhi Makhachkala 3-0 Terek Grozny

Anzhi have to win all three of their last three games if their to finish outside the automatic relegation places, they’ll also need Krylya to lose all of their remaining games. Their meeting on the last day of the season could be the decided. Terek are leading the race for survival and they went into this game on the back of defeating Dinamo. Anzhi got off to a great start and took the lead six minutes into the game. Bilyaletdinov produced a teasing cross into the box from the left and Bystrov raced in to nod the ball in before Godzyur could punch clear. Despite some pressure from Terek, Anzhi made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute, Bilyaletdinov the provider once again this time from a corner, his delivery was missed by Bukharov and Godzyur, this allowed Grigalava to direct the ball in. On the hour mark Bilyaletdinov deservedly made it 3-0, Bukharov headed a long ball down and Bilyaletdinov struck a lovely shot first time to find the net, Godzyur will be disappointed he wasn’t able to palm it away after getting two hands on it. Three vital points for the home side and they survive for another week, can they really produce a terrific miracle and stay up?

Kuban’ Krasnodar 4-0 Krylya Sovetov

Kuban are in good form, they’ve won three of their last four games. Krylya however are really struggling and they are still without a win since the winter break. Krylya came close to opening the scoring when Nemov’s freekick went just over the bar and onto the roof of the net. The first half didn’t provide much entertainment but Kuban corrected that in the second half as they flew out of the blocks. In the 48th minute Popov played the ball through to Manolev who controlled before firing his shot past Vavilin. Kuban didn’t mess around in getting a second in the 49th minute they doubled their lead. Kaboré played the ball out wide to Bugaev, he delivered a great cross to an unmarked Melgarejo who directed the ball into the bottom corner with a fantastic diving header. Krylya almost grabbed a goal back when Nemov’s corner was met by Dragun, his header was kept out by the post. On the hour mark Kuban had a third, Balyaikin was robbed of possession by Kaboré and Melgarejo took the ball and fired a great shot across goal and into the corner. Eleven minutes from time Kuban wrapped up the scoring, some outstanding link up play between Rabiu and Popov eventually lead to the latter providing a great cross for Rabiu to poke in from a couple of yards out.  The win for Kuban sees them climbing up to seventh place thanks to Rostov and Amkar both losing. Krylya are in danger of getting dragged into the automatic relegation spots if they can’t pick up a point in their last two games and either Volga or Anzhi manage to win their next two.

César Navas celebrates his winning goal.

César Navas celebrates his winning goal.

Rubin Kazan’ 1-0 Ural

Rubin started well and two promising attacks were eventually kept out thanks to two blocks, first up Eremenko’s shot from outside the area was blocked and then Prudnikov’s shot was also blocked. Rubin took the lead six minutes from the break, Karadeniz’s freekick from the left saw César Navas raise and head past Zabolotnyi for his first goal of the season. Rubin were denied twice by Zabolotnyi in the second half before Acevedo produced Ural’s best effort, his curling shot from outside the area went narrowly wide. Zabolotnyi once again kept out Rubin as he got down well to save Eremenko’s low drive before watching Karadeniz fluff his shot wide. This defeat sees Ural drop down a place and into thirteenth after Tom’s win over Spartak, this win for Rubin sees them staying in tenth place.

League Table and Results

RPL Table - Week 28

RPL Results - Week 28

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