Zenit coast past dogged CSKA to extend RPL lead

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CSKA Moscow 0-2 Zenit St. Petersburg
Sunday 28 November, VEB Arena

Goals: Zenit - Claudinho 33’, Mostovoy 90+4’
Man of the Match: WIlmar Barrios (Zenit)

With 10-goal Artem Dzyuba dropped to the bench and a three-man defence designed to snuff out CSKA’s attack, it was perhaps not so surprising that the first chance actually fell to former Zenit forward Anton Zabolotny.

In a relatively tight space in the box, he turned to find space for a shot and drew a fantastic fingertip save from Mikhail Kerzhakov to deflect the ball onto the post and out.

His reactions paid off handsomely when the Brazilian connection put the champions in front. Malcolm tore down the right flank before cutting back onto his favour left foot with Claudinho waiting outside the box to hit a strong low shot into a crowd of defenders; a cruel deflection gave Igor Akinfeev little chance.

The second half was edged by CSKA as the Armymen had the bulk of chances and possession, but in truth they never truly tested Kerzhakov. Possibly the closest they came to a breakthrough was when Dmitry Chistyakov appeared to brush the ball with his hand as he slid in to cover a ball in the area, but it wasn’t picked up by the referee of by VAR.

Malcolm blazed an effort well over the bar when Claudinho’s deflected shot fell his way midway through the second half, but it was Andrey Mostovoy who secured the three points in added time after being fed by Dzyuba. The Zenit talisman held up play patiently, before sliding Mostovoy in to steady himself, and wrongfoot Akinfeev with ease.

CSKA stay sixth on 24 points, while Zenit remain top on 36 points.

Next RPL fixtures: Friday 3 December - Zenit vs Rostov; Saturday 4 December - Krylia vs CSKA

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