Sergeev steals the show after Lisakovich debut double

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Zenit St. Petersburg 3-2 Rubin Kazan
Monday 28 February, Gazprom Arena

Goals: Zenit - Alberto 49’, Sutromin 54’ (pen), Sergeev 90+2’; Rubin - Lisakovich 61’, 67’
Sent off: Rubin - Musaev 79’
Man of the Match: Claudinho (Zenit)

Vitaly Lisakovich stole Yuri Alberto’s thunder by bagging a debut double to drag visitors Rubin back level in a frantic 18-minute four-goal spell right after half time, only to see Ivan Sergeev snatch all three points at the death..

A few days after agonisingly seeing his last-minute header against Real Betis ruled out by VAR to equalise the aggregate score in the Europa League, Dmitry Chistyakov was once again narrowly denied. His first-half header was the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock, but it smacked against the woodwork and came out, before Alberto was denied a debut assist by VAR.

He didn’t have to wait long after half time to go one better and his side the lead though, and it was with his fellow Brazilian that he combined to simple but deadly effect. Claudinho whipped in a precise cross into the middle of the penalty area for an unmarked Alberto to stoop calmly and steer home his first RPL goal.

Claudinho was causing all kinds of havoc down the right flank, often granted acres of space, and five minutes later made mincemeat of Aleksandr Lomovitsky’s backpedalling efforts with a cheeky nutmeg before the Rubin debutant hauled him down in the penalty area. Aleksey Sutormin coolly slotted the penalty into the bottom corner to put Zenit well in control.

At this stage everything seemed to be going the hosts way, but in a flash Vitaly Lisakovich wrenched back control of the game with two pin-point finishes. First, he latched onto a long ball over the top that caught Zenit’s defence flat-footed to reduce the deficit, before curling a low shot past teenage keeper Daniil Odoevsky, who probably should have done better.

Former Zenit youth product Leon Musaev was then sent off with 12 minutes remaining to take the wind out of Rubin’s sails. The man advantage told in added time, and in some spectacular fashion too. 

Wendel collected the ball out wide on the right and drilled a low cross into the area, where winter signing Ivan Sergeev was on hand to deflect the ball past a hapless Yuri Dyupin with a cheeky, instinctive flick behind his standing leg.

With the very last touch of the game, deep into the sixth minute of added time, Aleksandr Zuev sent a free header inexplicably wide from six yards after Odoevsky’s low blocked save.

Zenit regain top spot on 41 points, while Rubin remain 11th on 22 points.

Next RPL fixtures: Sunday 6 March - Zenit vs Ufa; Monday 7 March - Akhmat vs Rubin

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