Malcom and Azmoun complete comeback win for champions Zenit

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Zenit St. Petersburg 2-1 FC Sochi
Wednesday 8 July, Gazprom Arena

Goals: Zenit - Malcom (33’), Azmoun (77’); Sochi - Zabolotny (5’)

Sardar Azmoun and Malcom rescued Zenit from a shock home defeat after former Blue-White-Sky Blue forward Anton Zabolotny had given FC Sochi the lead. Sergey Semak made seven changes to his newly-crowned champions, handing Leon Musaev, Yordan Osorio and Aleksey Sutormin rare starts.

With six former Zenit players in Sochi’s starting lineup, it was perhaps inevitable that one would be involved as Anton Zabolotny put away a neat finish on the turn inside the box after just seven minutes. Only a desperate slide tackle from Leon Musaev denied another ex-Zenit star, Dmitri Poloz, from doubling the visitors lead after half an hour.

Shortly after though Malcom restored some dignity for the hosts with a peach of a curling long-range effort into the top corner. The winner, by contrast, was a scrappy tap-in after Artem Dzyuba’s header squeezed across to Azmoun to complete formalities.

Zenit St. Petersburg take on Akhmat at Grozny next on Saturday 11 July, while FC Sochi are hosting Spartak Moscow on the same day.

Zenit St. Petersburg: Kerzhakov, Smolnikov (Karavaev 65’), Osorio, Rakitskiy, Zhirkov, Driussi (Azmoun 65’), Musaev (Douglas Santos 45’), Barrios, Sutormin (Erokhin 87’), Malcom (Rigoni 87’), Dzyuba 

FC Sochi: Dzhanaev, Mevlja, Margasov, Miladinovic, Zaika, Tsallagov, Burmistrov, Nabiullin, Poloz (Bokovoy 68’), Kokorin, Zabolotny (Karapetyan 80’)

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