On this Day: Bystrov helps Spartak win at the Petrovsky

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On 30 April 2006, Spartak Moscow, with a new manager and the active participation of Vladimir Bystrov, defeated Zenit St. Petersburg on the road.

Both teams had started the season in the Russian Premier Liga below expectations. Zenit had just eight points and were eighth after five games. Meanwhile they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup where they were knocked out by eventual winners Sevilla. Because of the matches with the Spaniards, the third matchday meeting with Rostov was postponed to May. Vlastimil Petrzela at the same time quarreled with the Zenit management: in the winter, the club signed only the Czech Jaroslav Nesvadba and Hyun Young-Min – the first South Korean in the history of the RPL.

"I am very dissatisfied with the work of the club's management. Everything that I was promised turned out to be a fraud," said the Czech to Sport-Express newspaper, which published the quote a week before the match with Spartak and suggested that the coach would soon be fired.

Under the leadership of Aleksandr Starkov the Red-Whites showed similar results: seven points and the 10th position in the RPL. Before leaving for St. Petersburg, Spartak were leading FC Moscow 3-0, but ended the game with a 3-3 draw. "Due to the pressure placed on me and the team, I am ready for a difficult decision," Starkov said after the match, and the club accepted his resignation three days later. Sporting Director Vladimir Fedotov became the interim head coach, a role he had already fulfilled after the departures of Andrey Chernyshov (2003) and Nevio Scala (2004).

In addition to the debut of the new-old coach at the Petrovsky, Vladimir Bystrov also returned for his first game in St. Petersburg after joining Spartak in the summer of 2005. "When I first played in Moscow against Zenit, I was really worried. Now I’m not," the player told Sport-Express on the eve of departure, adding that he was ready for any reception from Zenit fans.

In the 35th minute, Spartak earned a penalty. By that time the hosts were winning thanks to a quick own goal from Sergey Kovalchuk. The former Zenit player sarcastically clapped the stands in response to offensive chants, and Roman Pavlyuchenko equalised from the spot. Immediately after the break, Bystrov set up the second goal, which was scored by Mikhailo Pyanovich.

Already without the direct participation of the midfielder, the Serbian forward scored a double, and Nikita Bazhenov sealed an emphatic 4-1 scoreline. After that, Bystrov was replaced. His former teammates had played so aggressively against him that they not only earned three yellow cards, but also caused an injury.

"We needed a win at any cost," the player told reporters. “Everyone was thinking only about winning, not about any personal motives. I must have had them, though. But now they have already passed."

Petrzela had three days to recover the Zenit players with the first semi-final of the Russian Cup against CSKA coming up. "We will do everything possible," the coach promised. “I won't tell you how. However, the responsibility for the result in these games in any case lies with me. I can't just leave and leave the team at a time like this."

Zenit lost 1-0 to the Armymen, and the management forced Petrzela to resign. In the summer, the team was led by Dick Advocaat, and they climbed out of mid-table to fourth place. Fedotov also led Spartak to the final of the Russian Cup and a runners up spot in the RPL. In both tournaments, the red and white team lost out to CSKA Moscow.

In the spring of 2007, Fedotov won at the Petrovsky twice in four days (3-1 in the RPL and 2-1 in the Russian Cup), and in both matches Bystrov earned penalties. In the summer, the coach was fired: as for his predecessor Starkov, his last game was against FC Moscow, in this case a 2-0 defeat. When Stanislav Cherchesov’s Spartak again beat Zenit, Bystrov put a penalty, but the fight for the championship was won by the Lawyer's team. With Spartak, the player was an RPL runner up three times, and then champion after returning from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

The text uses quotes from Sport-Express newspaper.


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