With Andre Villas Boas’s team perched in fifth place at the start of match, 7 points shy of the top spot, a win tonight against the team sitting directly above them (on goal difference,) Kuban Krasnodar, would highly improve their chances.
The game got off to a good start, the atmosphere booming with both Zenit and the travelling Kuban supporters in full voice. And it took 21 minutes for Zenit to take the lead, Roman Shatov with a fantastic free-kick from the left of the box.
But it didn’t take the visitors long to get themselves level, just 2 minutes after the first goal, a Stinging 20 yard strike from Yevhen Seleznyov putting Kuban level.
5 minutes before half-time, however, Zenit did take the lead again. A great cross by Smolnikov was diverted into the net by head of Artem Dzyuba, taking his goal tally for the season to 12, putting him 4th in the Russian Premier League top scorers.
A lot of good possession play and counter attacking from Zenit payed off in the end, when Hulk provided a moment of magic in the 65th minute, dancing past 3 defenders and firing the ball in to make it 3-1. It wasn’t long after that Zenit scored their 4th goal of the evening, sealing the win. Roman Shatov scoring his second of the game, and Zenit moving up the table.
The game was prodominantly one way traffic, with Zenit constantly a threat, they could have had 5 or six, when near the end of the match, Hulk’s free kick rattled off the bar and moments after, a cross that needed just the faintest touch eluded everyone.
Zenit sit comfortably in third place, 4 points off top spot. Kuban Krasnodar are in 5th place, 3 points from third.