Last Round: Zenit 1 – 0 Loko

Russian League, Round 30
May 30, 2015
Zenit 1 – 0 Lokomotiv
Goal: Rondon 61
St.Petersburg, Petrovsky Stadium
Att: 17500

Zenit: Malafeev (87 Baburin) – Smolnikov, Neto, Lombaerts, Criscito – Javi Garcia, Witsel – Ryazantsev (79 Evseev), Danny (c), Shatov (66 Fayzulin) – Rondon
Loko: Guilherme – Logashov (50 Yanbaev), Shishkin, Corluka, Vitaliy Denisov, Pejcinovic – Dmitriy Tarasov (55 sent off), Samedov, Aleksey Miranchuk (69 Maicon), Kasaev – Skuletic (59 Tigorev)

Last round of the Russian League season 2014-15. Zenit had secured the title two weeks before but the team wanted to get the win in front of their own fans at Petrovsky, especially because of the title celebrations planned for after the match. Zenit veteran goalkeeper Malafeev again was included in the starting lineup, replacing injured Lodygin. Garay and Hulk were rested.

Miguel Danny had had a press conference a few days before the game where he had announced that he was leaving the club so this was supposed to be his last game in the Zenit shirt. Danny has been playing for Zenit since 2008, with his first game being the memorable UEFA Super Cup win over Manchester United in August that year. And now after 7 years with the club, he was leaving. (Not quite, it turned out. An update came a few days after the Loko game in the form of a surprising announcement that Danny and the club have reached a deal to extend his contract so he won’t be leaving! I generally don’t see this as good news because I believe that despite Danny’s great individual skills, Zenit plays better as a team without him.)

               Rondon
     Shatov - Danny - Ryazantsev
        Witsel - Javi Garcia
Criscito - Lombaerts - Neto - Smolnikov
              Malafeev

10 minutes into the second half Loko’s Tarasov got sent off for kicking Javi Garcia in an out-of-play incident after being fouled by the Spaniard. The only goal of the game came on the hour mark: after a quick one-two between Danny and Shatov the Portuguese centered for Rondon to tap in into the empty net. Danny knew he was playing his last game at Petrovsky and wanted to get on the scoresheet himself but in the end of the second half he was denied a couple of times, once by the Loko goalkeeper and on the other occasion by a defender’s hand, the clear handball was missed by the ref. Zenit youth team player Aleksey Evseev was given about 10 minutes of playing time in the end, too little time to judge him but he looked absolutely excellent, if you ask me. I definitely would like to see the young midfielder play for the first team next season at least in some games. Viktor Fayzulin came on as a sub for the last 25 minutes, his first appearence after a bad knee injury which kept him sidelined for several months. Really good to see Fayzulin on the pitch again. Young goalkeeper Egor Baburin also got his few minutes in the end, replacing Malafeev.

Javi Garcia (in protective mask) getting kicked by a Loko player (who is down on the ground and cannot be seen), with partner Ryazantsev and the ref watching

Russian League 2014-15 Final Standings:

                    GP  W  D  L   F-A   Pts
1. Zenit            30  20 7  3  58-17   67
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2. CSKA             30  19 3  8  67-27   60
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3. Krasnodar        30  17 9  4  52-27   60
4. Dynamo           30  14 8  8  53-36   50
5. Rubin            30  13 9  8  39-33   48
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6. Spartak          30  12 8 10  42-42   44
7. Loko             30  11 10 9  31-25   43
8. Mordovia         30  11 5 14  22-43   38
9. Terek            30  10 7 13  30-30   37
10. Kuban           30  8 12 10  32-36   36
11. Amkar           30  8  8 14  25-42   32
12. Ufa             30  7 10 13  26-39   31
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13. Ural            30  9  3 18  31-44   30
14. Rostov          30  7  8 15  27-51   29
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15. Torpedo         30  6 11 13  28-45   29
16. Arsenal Tula    30  7  4 19  20-46   25

Zenit qualified for the Champions League group stage, CSKA for the Champions League qualification round, Krasnodar, Dynamo, and Rubin will go to the Europa League. Torpedo and Tula are relegated while Ural and Rostov kept their places in the Russian top flight after overcoming second division clubs in the relegation playoff claches.

Scorers:

15 (3 pen) Hulk (Zenit)
13 (-) Eremenko (CSKA)
13 (-) Promes (Spartak)
13 (-) Rondon (Zenit)
12 (7) Natkho (CSKA)
11 (-) Portnyagin (Rubin)
10 (-) Musa (CSKA)
10 (3) Kuranyi (Dynamo)
9 (-) Ionov (Dynamo)
9 (1) Mauricio Pereyra (Krasnodar)
8 (-) Dzyuba (Rostov)
8 (1) Kokorin (Dynamo)
8 (1) Smolov (Ural)
7 (-) Ari (Krasnodar)
7 (-) Dzsudzsak (Dynamo)
7 (-) Tosic (CSKA)
7 (1) Wanderson (Krasnodar)
7 (2) Doumbia (CSKA)
7 (2) Karadeniz (Rubin)
7 (3) Manuel Fernandes (Loko)
7 (3) Marcinho (Ufa)
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