Zenit, 10-man Spartak draw as fans attacked
Champions Zenit St Petersburg remained top of the Russian Premier League on Sunday after a 2-2 draw at 10-man Spartak Moscow in a match overshadowed by violence which saw a bus stoned and visiting fans attacked with bats.
The match at the 60,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium, featuring fans known for their mutual hatred, had started amidst tension when a number of Zenit supporters were attacked by Spartak fans on their way to the ground.
"The group of young people pelted a bus with stones and then attacked fans with bats and sticks," Moscow region police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev told the RIA Novosti news agency.
Around 2,500 police were on duty for the high-risk fixture and the tension spilled on to the pitch.
Spartak took the lead in the 21st minute when Zenit's Russian international defender Alexander Anyukov diverted the ball into his own net as he tried to clear Spartak's Dutch midfielder Demy De Zeeuw's pass to Nigerian striker Emmanuel Emenike.
Zenit levelled in the 38th minute through Portuguese midfielder Miguel Danny, who sent the ball home past Spartak 'keeper Andrei Dykan with a close-range shot from Alexander Kerzhakov's pass.
Spartak's Argentinian full back Nicolas Pareja was sent off three minutes before half-time for a dangerous foul.
Kerzhakov made it 2-1 for Zenit just 30 seconds after the interval, scoring from Roman Shirokov's cross from the right edge of the box to become the league's top scorer with 16 goals.
Spartak rescued a point when Brazilian striker Welliton scored from Aiden McGeady's cross.
Zenit have 53 points from 26 matches and stay two points ahead of CSKA Moscow who were held to a goalless draw by Kuban at Krasnodar. Dynamo Moscow are third on 50 points.
"It was a very interesting, beautiful match between two strong opponents," said Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti.
"We failed to convert our one-man advantage into the winning result but we have nobody to blame for it except ourselves. After the break Spartak shot on goal only once but they managed to level the scores. It's a game, sometimes it happens."
Spartak coach Valery Karpin said: "It would be much more interesting if both teams were at full strength. But I would like to congratulate my players who refused to surrender."
Dynamo Moscow trailed Krasnodar on Saturday when full back Yevgeny Shipitsyn gave his side a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.
But Dynamo levelled just three minutes later through their Ukrainian forward Andrei Voronin who scored Igor Semshov's cross.
In the 75th minute, Voronin scored the winner from Alexander Samedov's pass.
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