The penultimate games of the RPL certainly didn’t disappoint, plenty of action at the top and bottom. The title race took an exciting change of direction, while at the bottom we have to say goodbye to teams that were unfortunately relegated.
Zenit St. Petersburg 2-4 Dinamo Moscow – Game Suspended Dinamo awarded a 3-0 win.
By far the most entertaining game of the weekend, both for the good and the bad. Zenit started brilliantly and took the lead in the 6th minute, Danny slipped a lovely ball through to Witsel, he squared the ball to the open Rondón, Gabulov saved his effort from seven yards out but Danny raced in to finish the rebound. Dinamo were level in the 35th minute, a cross into the box was deflected into Yusupov’s path and his strike took a deflection off Criscito and over Lodygin. Dinamo took the lead in the 57th minute, Zhirkov’s corner was met by Fernández and his downwards header found its way past Lodygin after he failed to keep it out despite getting his hands to it. Just after the hour mark Dinamo made it 3-1, Ionov with a lovely cross into the box and Noboa found himself in plenty of space and he was able to direct his diving header past Lodygin. With nineteen minutes remaining Dinamo scored their fourth, they were able to hit Zenit on the break and the ball was worked it’s way to Kuranyi, who was able to get past Neto and fire an effort on goal, Lodygin again managed to get his hands to it, but he couldn’t keep it out when he probably should have. The best goal of the game came in the 82nd minute, Kerzhakov came off the bench and after receiving a pass from Criscito, he flicked the ball up and fired a volley over Gabulov and into the top corner.
Four minutes before the end of the game things took a turn for the worse, Zenit fans came down from the stand behind Gabulov’s goal and started to crowd behind it, the referee ordered the players off the pitch and this is when things worsened. Fans started to charge towards the players, Danny had to drag Rondón away from a Dinamo player, one Zenit fan punched Granat in the face for no reason, fans soon returned to the stands and that’s when riot police and a helicopter arrived. It wasn’t a pleasing scene and it was a horrible end to what was a good game of football. Zenit weren’t happy with their fans behaviour and the club picked up a 3-0 loss, a 1 million ruble fine (just over 17,000 pounds) and two matches played behind closed doors and further three without the fans that sit in sectors 12-15. The loss moved Zenit into second place and gave CSKA the advantage heading into the final game.
CSKA Moscow 2-0 Tom’ Tomsk
CSKA almost got off to a brilliant start, Tom failed to get the ball away from their box and they were almost punished for it. The ball was knicked away from Bashkirov and Tošić played a lovely ball through to Doumbia, but unfortunately for CSKA Cebanu was quick off his line and was able to make a great stop. Tom were almost punished once again for failing to clear the danger, Elm whipped in a terrific freekick and thanks to the ball not being cleared it allowed Mário Fernandes to have shot on goal, this time Cebanu was beaten but Sabitov was there to clear off the line. Those were the best chances of the first half and CSKA were left wondering how they weren’t leading at the break.
Early into the second half Doumbia should’ve changed that, Elm’s ball into the box was headed away, Wernbloom was there to head it back into the box and Doumbia had the chance to volley in after a defenders poor header, but from five yards out he blazed his volley over. Akinfeev was finally forced into action by Tom when his side could only clear the ball into the path of Bashkirov, who’s low drive saw the CSKA keeper get down well to save. CSKA were finally able to take the lead just after the hour mark, Elm’s brilliant delivery into the box saw Sabitov slice his clearance into his own net. Doumbia must of thought it wasn’t going to be his day when his diving header was saved by Cebanu and then his follow up was blocked by Jiranek before going out for a corner. Things got worse for the striker, after having a penalty appeal turned down a cross into the box was deflected over Cebanu and from four yards out his diving header went over. In the 90th minute he was to his relief able to put the ball in the back of the net. Zuber played the ball back to Tošić, who played the ball into Dzagoev, who then slipped the ball to Doumbia in space and after controlling he was able to smash his finish past Cebanu. With that win CSKA moved up to top spot, overtaking Zenit and Lokomotiv after they dropped points. The defeat for Tom means they’ll most likely have to play in a play-off game against a FNL side for the chance to survive.
Rostov 2-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Lokomotiv knew that they needed a win for them to take top spot in the last game of the weekend, but it wasn’t to be as Rostov finished off an amazing week in the club’s history with a victory. Rostov started the better and they came close when Lolo cut in from the right and his curling cross almost sneaked into the bottom corner, fortunately for Lokomotiv it crept juts wide. Rostov took a deserved lead after eighteen minutes, Dzyuba was brought down and Djakov stepped up to take the freekick, his powerful attempt took a deflection off the top of the wall and flew past Abaev, who was wrong footed by the deflection. Rostov almost found themselves two up when Gabulov was left unmarked at a corner, however he could only direct his header just over the bar. Denisov was able to cause some problems for Rostov when he charged down the left, his cross forced Pletikosa to punch it clear but a shot quickly came back towards him but it was comfortably wide.
The second half was a little bit better for the visitors, early in the half Denisov once again caused problems down the left, his dangerous cross was safely put behind for a corner. The resulting corner was only cleared to Tkachev, his powerful shot was palmed away by Pletikosa, but again it fell back to Tkachev, this time he could only fire over the bar. In the 68th minute Rostov doubled their lead, Ananidze switched the ball to Gaţcan, who then slipped the ball through to Kalachev and the Belarus midfielder coolly lifted his shot over Abaev to send the home fans wild. The last decent chance of the game fell to Pavlyuchenko, Boussoufa was able to keep the ball in and his cross saw Pavlyuchenko raise the highest but his header was comfortably saved by Pletikosa. The loss leaves Lokomotiv with a slim hope of winning the title, for them to win the league they’ll need Zenit to draw or lose against Kuban and they’ll need to beat CSKA. That win moves Rostov up into 7th place.
Terek Grozny 2-0 Volga
Volga had to withstand a lot of early pressure from Terek and the hosts almost found their way past Volga’s defence thanks to a well worked corner. A short corner finally ended up with a quality cross into the box and Komorowski’s header at the back post was just flicked over the bar by Pareiko. Ropotan burst forward for Volga and after a nice one-two he looked to take on a defender but fell over and this sparked a counter attack for Terek, Rybus tried his luck from outside the area and forced Pareiko into making a save.
In the 74th minute Terek took the lead thanks to a fantastic strike from Ivanov, after receiving the ball he opened up his body and unleashed a stunning low shot which flew past everyone and into the bottom left corner. Volga were unhappy with the referee when he denied them a penalty, which he should’ve given, Chicherin’s shot saw Semenov dive to block the shot and the effort struck his arm. Eleven minutes from time Volga were reduced to ten men, a Terek throw show Bokila getting past Kolodin and the centre back slide in to kick the back of Bokila’s knee and correctly received a straight red card. Volga came close to levelling things when Minosyan managed to win a header and after charging towards goal he fired a great effort at goal, Godzyur was unable to hold onto the shot and a teammate was able to clear the danger. It was an entertaining finish to the game and Bokila should’ve made it 2-0 after some brilliant running from Lebedenko, the winger burst forward, played a lovely one-two before playing it to Bokila, who had tons of space to score, but Pareiko flicked the ball onto the post and Lebedenko’s follow up was blocked by Kowalczyk. Bokila made up for the miss in the 92nd minute, a lovely ball over the top found Aissati with all the space in the world as Volga’s defence was nowhere to be seen, he squared the ball to Bokila and he easily tapped into the empty net. The win for Terek secures their place in the RPL for next season, but it’s bad news for Volga as the defeat to Terek means they’ll be playing in the FNL next season.
Krasnodar 1-0 Anzhi
It took Krasnodar just six minutes to take the lead against Anzhi, Joãozinho’s corner to the near post was flick on by the head of Granqvist and went in just inside the far post. Smolov had a golden chance to get Anzhi level after he was able to skip past Granqvist, however despite being through on goal he tried an elaborate finish with the outside of his foot which went wide when he should’ve scored or at least tested the keeper. Smolov almost made up for that finish when he curled a freekick round the wall, it was heading in but Sinitsyn quickly got across his goal to save. In the second half Smolov came close once again from a freekick, this time he was denied by the crossbar. Sinitsyn was again the hero for Krasnodar, Bystrov produced some terrific skill before pulling the ball back to Bukharov, his effort was well kept out by a great Sinitsyn save. Despite their efforts it wasn’t to be for Anzhi and after that loss they were relegated to the FNL.
Ural 2-1 Kuban’ Krasnodar
Kuban were close to getting off to the perfect start when Zhavnerchik played a one-two with Manolev, the cross from Zhavnerchik found Melgarejo who’s downwards header from eight yards out forced Zabolotnyi into making a good save. Ural soon found their feet in the game and were ahead in the 27th minute. Manucharyan was able to wiggle past Armaş and Ignatyev before the latter clipped his heels inside the area, Acevedo stepped up but didn’t strike it well and fortunately for him it managed to sneak in under Belenov’s arm. Nine minutes later Ignatyev made up for giving away the penalty, Kaboré’s ball into the box was knocked down by Melgarejo and Ignatyev was there to take over and fire a fantastic strike into the top corner giving Zabolotnyi no chance. Armaş almost gifted Ural the lead again, he stopped the ball from going out for a corner but his clearance ended up being a great pass to Erokhin, his effort flew past Belenov but cannoned off the bar and bounced just before the line. The miss from Erokhin didn’t prove costly as in the 84th minute his side grabbed a winner. Acevedo delivered a great freekick into the box, Ottesen headed the ball across goal after pressure from Belenov and his marker, Dorozhkin was able to get away from his marker and tapped in at the back post. With the win Ural move up to 11th place and it looks like they’ll be staying up as they visit Volga on Thursday. Kuban will be disappointed with the loss and they will now look to causing an upset against Zenit and end the season on a high.
Krylya Sovetov 0-4 Rubin Kazan
Krylya started the game well and they came close on a few occasions. Dragun’s freekick was heading for the top corner but Ryzhikov managed to get across goal to save. Soon after Caballero tried his luck from just outside the area but his effort curled over the bar. Just after twenty minutes Rubin were able to make the most of a freekick, Wakaso went for power and with a slight deflection off the wall his attempt flew into the bottom corner just out of Vavilin’s reach. Krylya was almost gifted the chance to get back into the game, Vavilin’s kick up field was flicked on and both Ryzhikov and César Navas hesitated which saw Kornilenko come close to sneaking in and knocking the ball past the Rubin keeper. The substitutes proved to be difference in the second half, ten minutes into the half Rubin brought on youngsters Mogilevets and Azmoun who both made an impressive impact on the game. Eight minutes after the entered onto the pitch they linked up to make it 2-0 to Rubin, Azmoun played the ball to Mogilevets who controlled before firing an outstanding volley into the top corner. Eleven minutes after their second Rubin made it three, Eremenko’s cross from the right perfectly picked out Azmoun and the young striker powered his header past Vavilin. In the 90th minute Rubin wrapped up the scoring. Azmoun switched the ball out to the right, Mullin controlled with his chest before crossing towards Eremenko, the Finnish midfielder couldn’t control but this allowed Mogilevets to lay the ball of to Dević who calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner. Krylya can’t get out of the relegation play-off spots after this defeat and they’ll have to face a FNL side in order to keep their record of never being relegated from the RPL. Another win for Rubin who’ve started pick up some good results, they have a real shot at a 7th place finish after their third win in their last four games.
Spartak Moscow 1-0 Amkar Perm’
Having lost three games in a row Spartak needed to turn things around quickly if they were going to have any hope of getting a Europa League spot. An early chance was created by Jurado, his cross towards the back post found Parshivlyuk who slipped in unmarked and his header back across goal was kept out after a good reaction save by Narubin. Spartak should’ve taken the lead when Costa’s brilliant ball over the top set Movsisyan through on goal, but the Armenian’s lob over Narubin was put over the bar. Amkar could have taken the lead after a great corner in from Peev, Nikitin had a free header from the penalty spot but he failed to direct his header on target. Spartak were gifted there goal in the 31st minute, under pressure Sirakov turned and passed back to his keeper but unfortunately that’s where Movsisyan was stood, he calmly took a touch before slotting his shot past Narubin. Amkar had a chance to pull themselves level with an identical chance to the one they had earlier, Peev’s corner was once again met by Nikitin, but this time he was able to direct his header on target, however only into Rebrov’s arms.
Amkar would’ve been level had it not been for João Carlos, Peev headed Rebrov’s goalkick through to Vassiljev, who then charged into the box and pulled the ball back to Kanunnikov, his shot was excellently blocked by João Carlos. Jurado could’ve and should’ve sealed all three points for Spartak. Another ball over the top found Movsisyan and just outside the area he was able to poke the ball across to Jurado, who was all on his own, the Spaniard was able to put his shot past Narubin but he also managed to put it past the post. Late on Movsisyan was inches away from getting his second after a fantastic cross from Kombarov, Narubin was grateful he didn’t and he was able to gather. That defeat continues Amkar’s horrible form and it sees them drop down to 10th place.
League Table and Results