04.08.2020

Zenit and Lokomotiv in the Russian Super Cup: Arshavin's sneaky goal, Miranchuk's winning double

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We take a look back on the previous meetings between Zenit and Lokomotiv in the Russian Super Cup.

Before their debut RPL title in 2007, the Blue-White-Sky Blues hadn’t been crowned champions for 23 years. By association, the same time passed from the team's only participation in the Soviet version of the Super Cup, then called the Cup of the Season. In 1985, Zenit beat Dynamo Moscow over two games; 2-1 in Leningrad and 1-0 in Moscow. Lokomotiv did not participate in the season's Cups, but won the first Russian Super Cup in 2003 and their second victory came two years later.

In all three personal meetings, Zenit played as RPL champions, and Lokomotiv as Russian Cup winners.

2008: Zenit win at the first attempt

The first match was played on 9 March 2008 at the Luzhniki. Of the 11 players in the Zenit starting line-up, eight were champions a year earlier; all except Tomas Hubocan, Roman Shirokov and Viktor Fayzulin.

Head coach Rashid Rakhimov, goalkeeper Ivan Levenets, midfielders David Mujiri and Dmitry Torbinsky made their debuts for the Railwaymen, but the newcomers performed poorly. In the first half, Levenets prevented Andrey Arshavin from scoring, but when he was preparing to start the attack, he didn’t notice that his opponent had lingered behind. As soon as the goalkeeper dropped the ball, the Zenit player jumped out and rolled it into an empty net. Levenets admitted after the match that he had conceded the most curious goal of his career.

The Muscovites hit back thanks to Rodolfo's header, but 10 minutes later Torbinsky was given a second yellow, and Zenit came back to win through Pavel Pogrebnyak long-range effort. Zenit won their first Russian Super Cup, and Lokomotiv lost it for the first time. The match also set a record attendance of 48,000.

2015: the only Super Cup in St. Petersburg

The match had been planned to be played at Khimki Arena, but was moved to the Petrovsky, Zenit’s home. St. Petersburg became the fifth city to host the Super Cup after Moscow, Krasnodar (2011 and 2014), Samara (2012) and Rostov (2013), followed by only one match held outside the capital, in 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod.

Zenit and Lokomotiv met at the Petrovsky stadium on 12 July. That match saw the start of Artem Dzyuba's career in St. Petersburg, but he did not make a mark in his debut and was replaced midway through the second half. Apart from him, only Mikhail Kerzhakov has remained at Zenit from that side, while Marinato Guilherme, Anton Kochenkov, Vedran Corluka and the Miranchuk brothers continue to play for Lokomotiv. But then other players scored: Senegalese forward Oumar Niasse put the visitors in front in the first half, before the hosts were saved from defeat by Igor Smolnikov in the 84th minute.

It came to a penalty shootout, only the second in the history of the Super Cup (the first took place in 2003, when Lokomotiv beat CSKA). In St. Petersburg, the Railwaymen lost the shootout: two misses against one led to Domenico Criscito sealing the win for Zenit.

2019: Semin's last trophy

In August 1985, Zenit won its only USSR Cup of the Season at Dynamo stadium. Thirty-four years later, the Blue-White-Sky Blues again played the Cup winners in Petrovsky Park, at the newly opened VTB Arena. Lokomotiv participated in their third Super Cup in a row, and after two defeats (against Spartak and CSKA), they were really motivated to finally take the trophy.

The match became one of the three highest-scoring Super Cups: only CSKA and Spartak had previously scored five or more goals (3-2 in 2006 and 4-2 in 2007). Fyodor Smolov opened the scoring in the sixth minute, then Sardar Azmoun equalised before the break. The Iranian bagged his second at the start of the second half, but in the end Aleksey Miranchuk struck a three-minute double and the Railwaymen took their first Super Cup since 2005.

Thanks to this victory, Yury Semin became the tournament’s most successful manager, as the only one to have lifted the trophy three times. The Super Cup was his last silverware with Lokomotiv: he left the Red-Greens after his contract expired on 31 May. On 7 August, Marko Nikolic will try to win his first Russian trophy, and Sergey Semak will try to claim his first Super cup as manager. As a player, he won with three different teams: CSKA (2004), Rubin (2010, although he did not play due to injury) and Zenit (2011). Zenit have a chance to win their third trophy in just over a month.

Zenit and Lokomotiv will meet again in Moscow. The VEB Arena will be the fourth stadium in the capital to host the Super Cup after Lokomotiv (now RZD) Arena, Luzhniki and VTB Arena. The Red-Greens will now play against Zenit as RPL runners up and will set another tournament record by competing for this trophy for the fourth time in a row. Previously, that particular record was held by CSKA, who took part three years in a row from 2009 to 2011.

If Lokomotiv beat Zenit again, they will catch up with the RPL champions with four titles each. If Sergey Semak’s men win, they will move closer to CSKA, the seven-time Super Cup winners.

Photo: Konstantin Rybin/RPL


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