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Zenit beat Lokomotiv to maintain perfect start

31 Aug 2014 19:01:51

Zenit beat Lokomotiv to maintain perfect start

Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St Petersburg beat 1-0 Lokomotiv Moscow on Sunday to extend their winning series to six.

A goal by former Real Madrid, Benfica and Manchester City midfielder Javi Garcia -- his first goal in the Russian league -- retained Zenit's perfect start to the season and left them three points clear of second-placed Dynamo.

"It's a very important win for us," Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas said.

"We have had a very busy schedule in August with plenty of flights. But it was an excellent month for us as we have won all of our matches.

"Today we were the better side. We started well and looked in command after the break. It's a deserved success.

"Hopefully, we will manage to continue our winning run both in the Premiership and the Champions League."

After a goalless first half Zenit stepped up the pressure in the second to earn a 1-0 lead just before the hour mark.

Zenit's Belgian defender Nicolas Lombaerts helped the ball on to Garcia in the area from skipper Miguel Danny's well-served corner and the Spaniard fired home from 10 yards past helpless keeper Ilya Abayev.

In the early Sunday game a hat-trick by Israeli international Bebars Natcho and a brace by Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa saw the reigning champions CSKA Moscow on their way to a 6-0 rout of visitors Rostov.

Natcho put the Red Army side 1-0 up in the 42nd minute from the penalty spot after Brazilian defender Mario Fernandes was fouled in the area.

After the break Rostov lost their way, allowing Musa and Natcho to score three goals within just seven minutes before Finnish international Roman Eryomenko made it 5-0 for CSKA in the 65th minute.

Natcho completed his hat-trick with a shot from the edge of the box in stoppage time.

"Rostov obviously lacked freshness as they came onto the pitch just three days after their Europa League qualifier and it adversely affected their performance," CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky said.

"We (CSKA) have often been in such situations while Rostov probably have no experience of fighting on two fronts."

Meanwhile, Dynamo continued pursuit of Zenit with a 2-0 win at FC Krasnodar.

In the 35th minute, French international Mathieu Valbuena scored his first goal in Russia with a well-struck freekick from just outside the box to put Dynamo in front.

Ecuadorian midfielder Christian Noboa doubled Dynamo's lead three minutes after the break when he sidefooted the ball into the back of the net from Alexander Kokorin's cross.

In the 66th minute Dynamo were reduced to 10 men after midfielder Artur Yusupov was sent off for a second bookable offence but the hosts failed to capitalise on their one-man advantage.


AFP

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