Matchday 17 highlights: Season record for goals, five doubles, Dzhanaev's anniversary penalty save

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We have rounded up all the best stats and facts from matchday 17 of the Russian Premier Liga.

A minute of silence was held at four matches held on 6 and 7 December in Rostov, Moscow and Sochi. RPL teams honoured the memory of the 1960 European champion and scorer of the final’s winner, Viktor Ponedelnik. The former Soviet international, who played for Rostselmash and SKA Rostov, died on 5 December at the age of 83.

For the second time this year, Sardar Azmun scored a hat-trick and an assist against Ural at the Gazprom Arena. On 14 March, the Iranian scored twice inside the opening 15 minutes and completed the first hattrick of his Russian career in the 61st minute, which helped Zenit inflict a 7-1 thrashing on Ural, their all-time biggest league defeat. Nine months later, Azmoun needed 22 minutes for the first two goals, and scored the third after the break from the penalty spot. Now the Iranian striker is the RPL’s top scorer with nine goals.

Lokomotiv scored all three goals against Rubin with the help of Vladislav Ignatiev. The Railwaymen defender scored once in each half, and between his goals earned a penalty, which was converted by Anton Miranchuk. The 33-year-old scored a double for the second time in his career, and when he scored the first, he also participated in three goals for his team. In November 2015, while playing for Kuban Krasnodar, he scored twice against Lokomotiv and assisted Lorenzo Melgarejo to hand his then-employers a thumping 6-2 home victory.

Ufa have picked up four points from RPL matches in which Komnen Andric has scored. The Serbian's debut goal did not save them from a 2-1 home defeat against Ural, but on the next matchday the forward converted a penalty in Sochi and earned Ufa a 1-1 draw. In Rostov, as in the previous two matches, Andric scored in the second half, and his goal helped Ufa beat Rostov 1-0. Incidentally, Ufa have not lost at Rostov Arena. In July they beat the southerners 2-1 under the leadership of Vadim Evseev, and in September 2018 they drew 0-0.

Five players scored doubles on matchday 17, which hadn’t been achieved since matchday 10 of the 2019/20 season. On 21 September last year, two goals were scored by Aleksey Sutormin in Zenit’s 5-0 win over Rubin and Georgi Melkadze as Tambov beat Rostov 2-1, and the following day by Sylvester Igboun as Dynamo lost 3-2 to Sochi, and then by both Nikola Vlasic and Markus Berg in CSKA’s 3-2 win over Krasnodar. Then, the five doubles took place over two days, whereas this time they were all recorded on one.

The first scorer in this group was Vladislav Ignatiev, who scored twice against Rubin. After that, Spartak strikers Jordan Larsson and Ezequiel Ponce both scored two goals against Tambov to temporarily go top of the RPL goalscoring charts on eight goals each. Two more doubles helped Krasnodar defeat Rotor, courtesy of Ari, who scored his first RPL goals since March, and Viktor Claesson, who had already scored twice in the game against Khimki earlier this season.

For seven years, Spartak hadn’t scored five goals in an RPL match before the defeat of Tambov. The last time came on 1 December 2013, when the Red-Whites defeated Volga Nizhny Novgorod 6-1 in Cherkizovo. Spartak had previously won 5-1 four times; against Dynamo Moscow and Alania Vladikavkaz in 2005, and against Amkar Perm and Rostov in 2009. All these games were also home fixtures, and at least one player scored twice in each. Fernando Cavenaghi and Denis Boyarintsev both scored twice against Dynamo, while it was Radoslav Kovac’s turn against Alania. Alex and Welliton struck twice each against Amkar, with Alex again scoring twice against Rostov.

Soslan Dzhanaev saved the 10th RPL penalty of his career, as overall opponents could not beat him from the spot for the 11th time. Earlier this season, the Sochi captain twice conceded spot kicks from Ivan Ignatiev of Rubin and Ufa’s Komnen Andric, but in the win over Akhmat, for whom Dzhanaev played between 2010 and 2012, the goalkeeper kept out Bernard Berisha’s penalty with the score still at 0-0. CSKA’s Igor Akinfeev is the all-time record holder with 15 penalty saves. In total he did not concede from 19 penalties.

For 13 years, CSKA had not dropped points against Khimki in all competitions. After two draws (1-1 and 0-0) in the RPL in 2007, the army team had six consecutive victories against Khimki; five in the league and one in the Russian Cup last 16 in 2007/08. The Red-Blacks broke CSKA’s winning streak with a 2-2 draw at the VEB Arena, but still remain winless in official games. Overall, CSKA have seven wins and three draws.

Dynamo have picked up 22 points in nine home games this season, the best record in the season so far. Having beaten Arsenal in their last home game of the year, the Blue-Whites extended their winning streak at VTB Arena to five matches. They had previously beaten Akhmat, Krasnodar, Sochi and Lokomotiv in Petrovsky Park. The club record in the RPL is seven consecutive home wins from June to October 2011, when they played at Khimki Arena. Dynamo will return to the VTB Arena in March when they host Tambov and Spartak on matchdays 21 and 22 respectively.

The 29 goals scored by teams on matchday 17 is a season record. The previous one was set on matchday 12, when 26 goals were scored in eight games. The highest-scoring teams were Zenit, Krasnodar and Spartak, who scored five times each, and the top scorer was Zenit forward Sardar Azmun with a hattrick - including a penalty - and an assist to boot. The league record for goals per round has been held since 2006 when 36 goals were scored on matchday 21. This was only equalled on matchday six of the 2012-13 season.

Dmitry Merenchukov played 86 minutes on his debut for Tambov and set up the only goal for the visitors at the Otkritie Arena for German Onugkha. The 21-year-old striker played football in Novokuznetsk, joining CSKA’s youth system in 2014 and scoring against Manchester United in the UEFA Youth League. For the first half of 2019, he played for Novokuznetsk in the Amateur League, and in the summer of the same year, he moved to Tambov. Before the match against Spartak, he’d only made the senior matchday squad six times. In the 2019/20 season, Merenchukov finished as top scorer of the Youth Championship with 12 goals, and in the current draw has already scored seven - in both seasons he scored four times in a match.

Photo: Alexander Stupnikov/Spartak


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