Zenit stay top as leaders held in Russia

06 November 2011 07:47

Reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg stay top of the Russian league on Sunday despite being held 1-1 by hosts Kuban at Krasnodar as rivals CSKA Moscow and Dynamo Moscow were also drew by the same scoreline in their ties.

Zenit have 61 points from 30 matches, two points ahead of CSKA Moscow, who were held 1-1 at fourth-placed city rivals Lokomotiv, with Dynamo sitting third on 55 points after drawing 1-1 at home against fifth-placed Spartak Moscow on Saturday.

Midfielder Igor Denisov put Zenit ahead after 20 minutes from the edge of the penalty box but the hosts levelled through a precise spot kick from Ivory Coast forward Lacina Traore on 66 minutes after Zenit defender Bruno Alves played handball in the area.

"It was a very tough match like we expected," Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti said.

"We looked better and were in control in the first half but after the break Kuban looked much better and had the initiative.

"Today we were playing against a team that battled tough throughout the entire match and I believe the result was pretty fair."

CSKA Moscow narrowly avoided defeat at Lokomotiv.

Lokomotiv and the Red Army side looked almost even in the first halftime but the railway-backed side took the lead in the 11th minute through Vladislav Ignatiev, who fired home from the edge of six-yard box from Bosnian Senijad Ibricic's feeding pass.

CSKA poured in attack after the break but failed to created any serious chances in front of Lokomotiv's net as the railroaders defended well.

Ivory Coach marksman Seydou Doumbia saved the day for CSKA and confirmed his lead in the league scorers' chart with his 23rd goal of the season as he send home a rebound after Alexander Cauna's initial shot in the 64th minute.

Eight team's in the upper half of the table will now battle for the title, while the lower part of the league will determine which two teams will be relegated.

Source: AFP