Krasnodar close in on Zenit after narrow win over Spartak Moscow

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Spartak Moscow 0-1 FC Krasnodar
Monday 9 March, Otkritie Arena
Goal: Ari (71’)
Sent off: Zobnin (90+2’)
Man of the Match: Matvey Safonov (Krasnodar)

An injury riddled FC Krasnodar outfit did well to narrowly beat Spartak and reduce the gap between themselves and league leaders Zenit. Ari’s 71st minute penalty gave the Bulls all three points, and sees them jump to second, three points ahead of FC Rostov and Lokomotiv.

Spartak have started the year off on a strong note, picking up wins over Dynamo Moscow and CSKA Moscow in the past week, but couldn’t replicate that form at home against FC Krasnodar. Domenico Tedesco’s side were on the back foot for most of the game, as the away team enjoyed 66% of the total possession and got 17 shots off, with six of them being on target.

The first proper chance of the game for either side came when Georgiy Dzhikiya struck a powerful free-kick from a long way out, and the low driven shot prompted Matvey Safonov to make a diving stop. The young goalkeeper was called into action just a few seconds later, as Spartak continued asking questions through rebounds and deflections.

Just as the second half started, Spartak earned a corner, and Safonov made his best save of the match. Ezequiel Ponce made contact with Zobnin’s corner at the near post, and the Russian youth international keeper had to acrobatically stop the ball from hitting the roof of the net.

After 69 minutes of half-chances and formidable goalkeeping, Ilya Kutepov pushed and tripped Marcus Berg in the Spartak penalty area, and a spot kick was given. FC Krasnodar’s talisman Ari made no mistake from 12 yards, firing the ball into the top left corner.

The Krasnodar players were appealing for another penalty 15 minutes later, as they thought that Ayrton Lucas should have been penalised for a handball. These calls were waved away, and the next eventful occurrence in the match was Roman Zobnin’s second yellow card, shown in added time. The midfielder bundled into Magomed-Shapi Suleymanov and was sent off.

FC Krasnodar moved up to second, while Spartak are in eighth at the end of 21 game-weeks. Next, the Bulls will play PFC Sochi on the 15th of March, whereas Spartak travel to Orenburg.

Spartak Moscow: Maksimenko; Kutepov, Gigot (Mirzov 82’), Dzhikiya; Eschenko (Til 58’), Zobnin (sent off 90+2’), Kral, Bakaev, Ayrton; Larsson (Sobolev 67’), Ponce
FC Krasnodar: Safonov; Petrov, Kaio, Sorokin, Ramirez; Chernikov (Suleymanov 59’), Olsson, Wanderson, Fernandes (Fjoluson 90’); Ari (Utkin 90’), Berg

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