CSKA 2 – 2 Zenit

Russian League, Round 8
September 12, 2015
CSKA 2 – 2 Zenit
Goals: Lombaerts 9 og, Doumbia 22 – Hulk 39 pen, Smolnikov 88
Missed Penalty: Dzagoev 71 (saved)
Khimki, Arena Khimki
Att: 15000

CSKA: Akinfeev – Fernandes, V.Berezutskiy, Ignashevich, Schennikov – Wernbloom, Dzagoev, Roman Eremenko, Tosic (86 A.Berezutskiy), Musa, Doumbia (80 Milanov)
Zenit: Lodygin – Smolnikov, Garay, Lombaerts, Anyukov – Javi Garcia, Witsel, Danny (c) (83 Fayzulin) – Hulk, Dzyuba, Shatov (74 Tkachuk)

       Shatov - Dzyuba - Hulk
          Danny - Witsel
            Javi Garcia
Anyukov - Lombaerts - Garay - Smolnikov

The hosts were the better side for most of the first half. They played high pressure and Zenit was having trouble starting attacks, of which they created very few in the first 25 minutes. CSKA opened the scoring very early in the game although they didn’t have to do much to achieve that: Lombaerts in the Zenit area chested down a long ball towards own goal, which caught Lodygin by surprise and the ball rolled into the net. A bad error by the Belgian defender who was included in the starting lineup again after a few games on the bench. The second CSKA goal soon followed: Zenit defense forgot Schennikov in the area and Doumbia headed in his cross from close range, 2-0 after just 22 minutes. After finding themselves two goals down Zenit had to push forward and created a few decent attacks. In one of them Hulk was fouled in the area; he converted the penalty himself.

The crucial moment of the match came in the second half, about 20 minutes from the end. Danny lost possession in the CSKA half, the hosts immediately organized a fast break and Garay fouled Doumbia in the area for a penalty. However, Lodygin saved Dzagoev’s spot kick, allowing Zenit to stay in the game. A few minutes later at the other end Smolnikov had a penalty appeal turned down by the ref, it did look like a penalty but with Smolnikov you never know. Dreadful Danny was eventually substituted for Fayzulin who only spent 5 minutes on the pitch before creating the equalizer: he found Smolnikov in the CSKA area with a wonderful defense-splitting pass and the Zenit right back chipped the ball over advancing Akinfeev, 2-2.

Not the best game by Zenit. Uncharacteristic errors by Lombaerts and Garay, typically terrible game by Danny, and ineffective Dzyuba upfront. Shatov was mostly invisible although he had an excuse — he played with an injury. He was eventually subbed for youth team player Tkachuk for whom it was his debut for the main team; Tkachuk however was no more visible on the pitch than Shatov. Still, with all those problems the team was able to snatch a point in this difficult away fixture. This Zenit team is still very hard to beat and in general has very good potential despite various prolems at the club at the moment.

Russian League Standings:
Loko 17
Zenit 16
Spartak 16
Krasnodar 12
Rostov 12
Dynamo 12
Krylya Sovetov 10

Next Match: Wed September 16, 9:45pm Valencia – Zenit

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