Matchday 3 highlights: Noboa’s best run, Azmoun's anniversary double, more than 5000 days between Rotor goals

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We have summed up the key points from matchday three of the Russian Premier Liga

Dynamo Moscow have conceded no goals in three matchdays for the first time in the team's RPL history. The Blue-White are the only team to keep clean sheets in every match so far this season. In the history of the RPL, the best run without conceding at the start of a season belongs to Lokomotiv Moscow in 2005, when the Railwaymen went the opening five matches without conceding. The Red-Greens also hold the overall Russian championships record - in 2000, they didn’t let in a single goal through the eight opening matches.

One team won on every matchday - the reigning RPL champions Zenit, who became the outright leaders in the standings. Sergey Semak is coaching the team for the third year, and every season under his leadership, the Blue-White-Sky Blues have started with three consecutive wins. Zenit are the record holders for most wins at the start of a championship: under Andre Villas-Boas, they won the first eight matches of the 2014/15 season.

Christian Noboa has scored in three matches in a row. This is the 35-year-old midfielder’s best scoring streak in the RPL, having already scored against Spartak, Khimki and Rubin. His previous most productive start came at Rubin back in 2011, when he scored in the first two matches. Noboa is the only player who has featured in every match so far this season, and he leads the goalscorers’ race along with former Rostov and Zenit teammate Sardar Azmoun.

Sergey Petrov scored his fourth goal against Arsenal Tula. The Krasnodar defender equaled Krasnodar’s top scorer against the Gunners, Ari, who has also scored four times in the fixtures. In all the meetings where Petrov got on the scoresheet, the southerners have won; 3-0 in April 2018 and May 2019, and 2-1 in November 2019 and now 2-0 in August 2020. The 29-year-old has scored more often against Arsenal than any other RPL side, with four of his 12 top-flight goals coming against them.

Fedor Smolov scored for the ninth time in his RPL career against Ural Ekaterinburg. The striker played for Ural on loan in the 2014/15 season, and after leaving the club has scored against them more than any other RPL side. For Krasnodar, Smolov has scored six goals against Ural, including four in one game in April 2016, and he has now scored three for the Railwaymen. The goal in Ekaterinburg is the first for Smolov after returning from Celta.

Sardar Azmoun scored his 10th RPL double thanks to two goals against CSKA Moscow. After moving to Zenit in the winter of 2019, the Iranian has scored five doubles in the league, the same amount he had in total for Rostov and Rubin. Before his goals against the Armymen at the Gazprom Arena, the forward hadn’t scored against CSKA in the previous nine games in a row. His last goal against them came for Rostov in August 2015, but they ended up losing 2-1 to the Muscovites.

14 minutes was enough for Akhmat to score three times against Rotor, with all goals coming off the bench. Vladimir Ilyin and Oleg Ivanov both came on at half-time and had already combined for the first goal in the 47th minute, which Ilyin finished. Odise Roshi appeared in the first half and scored in the 53rd and 61st minutes as Akhmat ran out 3-1 winners. The Albanian made the second double of his career in Grozny; the first brought a victory over Arsenal by the same scoreline on 1 July this year.

Aleksandr Belenov made his 17th penalty save in the RPL. Last season, Ufa’s keeper conceded all penalties he faced, and before that, since the 2012-13 season, he had kept out at least one spot kick in the championship. Belenov's record is four saved penalties in the 2016-17 season: in the first half of the season he kept out three for Anzhi, and one for Ufa in the second half. The RPL’s all-time record holder is Igor Akinfeev, who has saved 18 penalties.

Sergey Ryzhikov kept his 131st RPL clean sheet. The 39-year-old goalkeeper is second only to Akinfeev, who is on 214 shutouts. On matchday three Ryzhikov kept his first clean sheet for FC Tambov, whom he joined before the start of the season, as his new club beat FC Khimki in Saransk. The goalkeeper himself has won every personal meeting with Khimki in the RPL: in 2008 and 2009, he and Rubin won all four matches against them.

450 days separated Viktor Claeson's previous RPL match and his return on matchday three. On 26 May 2019, the Swede scored the winning goal against Rubin on the last day of the 2018/19 season, and then he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in a match for his national team and completely missed the following season. Claesson's return came in the 75th minute of the match against Arsenal. The midfielder moved to Krasnodar in the winter of 2017 and has scored 23 goals in 72 RPL matches.

5,759 days passed between Rotor’s last goal before relegation from the RPL and the first upon their return. On 12 November  2004, in their matchday 30 fixture against Zenit, Andrey Krivov scored their previous top-flight goal in the 85th minute. Rotor scored their first goal back in the RPL on matchday three against Akhmat in the 58th minute courtesy of Sergey Serchenkov. It was the winger’s second RPL goal, and his first also came in Grozny. In May 2015, an 18-year-old Serchenkov helped Ural win 3-1 at the Akhmat Arena. With Rotor, the 23-year-old was defeated by the same score.

Photo: Sergey Kulakov/Sochi; Mikhail Kapitonov/Tambov


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