One More Point Will Get Zenit The Title: Zenit 3 – 0 Rostov

Russian League, Round 27
May 10, 2015
Zenit 3 – 0 Rostov
Goals: Shatov 44, Hulk 45+2, Rondon 87
St.Petersburg, Petrovsky Stadium
Att: 17800

Zenit: Lodygin – Anyukov, Garay, Lombaerts (12 Neto), Criscito – Javi Garcia, Witsel, Arshavin (72 Ryazantsev) – Shatov, Hulk (82 Rondon), Danny (c)
Rostov: Pletikosa – Novoseltsev, Dyakov, Bastos, Kalachev (76 Poloz) – Bordachov, Torbinskiy (72 Rebko), Gatcan, Kanga, Azmoun (46 Moussa Doumbia), Bukharov

Looking at the TV picture I couldn’t quite figure who played where of the Zenit’s five attacking players; well it didn’t really matter much anyway as they were switching places constantly. Especially Arshavin, Danny, and Shatov were threatening both from the right and from the left, as well as down the center. The approximate Zenit starting formation:

       Danny - Hulk - Shatov
         Witsel - Arshavin
            Javi Garcia
Criscito - Lombaerts - Garay - Anyukov
              Lodygin

Rostov resorted to some hard tackling from the very start, in an attempt to contain Zenit’s creative attacking players. The ref booked 4 of the visiting players in the first half already, and it should have been more. Rostov looked very organized under their new coach Berdyev. They have improved significantly compared to the earlier stages of the season. It took Zenit almost 45 minutes to get the opener. Surprisingly, it came after the hosts caught Rostov on a counter attack: a lighting-fast passing move between Anyukov-Arshavin-Danny put Shatov through on goal, he sidestepped a defended before spectacularly firing into the far top corner, in off the post. Excellent goal. Hulk increased the hosts’ lead directly from a free kick 3 minutes later and it was also the last kick of the first half.

Things didn’t change much in the second. Substitute Rondon took only 5 minutes on the pitch to get his name on the scoresheet after Criscito intercepted a cross deep inside own half, moved forward, and put the Venezuelan through on goal with a diagonal pass. Rondon’s 12th league goal of the season and 19th in total.

Krasnodar failed to beat Amkar in this round so the Petersburgers are now 8 points clear at the top with 3 games to go. A draw against Ufa in the next round will suffice to mathematically make Zenit the 2014-15 champions. The game cannot be played in Ufa and will be moved to a different city, the decision about which city it will be will only be made tomorrow.

Next Match: Sun May 17, 4:00pm Ufa – Zenit

Russian League Standings:

                    GP  W  D  L   F-A   Pts
1. Zenit            27  19 6  2  56-15   63
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2. Krasnodar        27  16 7  4  47-23   55
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3. CSKA             27  17 2  8  59-21   53
4. Dynamo           27  14 6  7  49-31   48
5. Rubin            27  13 8  6  38-26   47
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6. Spartak          27  12 7  8  38-33   43
7. Loko             27  10 9  8  27-23   39
8. Terek            27  10 6 11  28-25   36
9. Mordovia         27  10 4 13  21-41   34
10. Kuban           27  7 11  9  26-33   32
11. Rostov          27  7  6 14  25-48   27
12. Ufa             27  6  8 13  22-36   26
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14. Amkar           27  6  7 14  20-39   25
13. Ural            27  7  3 17  25-39   24
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15. Arsenal Tula    27  7  2 18  16-38   23
16. Torpedo         27  4 10 13  21-42   22

Scorers:

14 (3 pen) Hulk (Zenit)
12 (-) Rondon (Zenit)
12 (7) Natkho (CSKA)
11 (-) Portnyagin (Rubin)
11 (-) Promes (Spartak)
10 (-) Eremenko (CSKA)
10 (3) Kuranyi (Dynamo)
9 (-) Musa (CSKA)
9 (1) Mauricio Pereyra (Krasnodar)
8 (-) Dzyuba (Rostov)
8 (-) Ionov (Dynamo)
8 (1) Kokorin (Dynamo)
7 (-) Ari (Krasnodar)
7 (1) Smolov (Ural)
7 (2) Doumbia (CSKA)
7 (3) Marcinho (Ufa)
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