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Russian Premier League: Zenit Saint Petersburg continue perfect start to season, thrash Spartak Moscow 5-1

Moscow: Roberto Mancini's table toppers Zenit Saint Petersburg continued their perfect start to the Russian season with a 5-1 thrashing of struggling champions Spartak Moscow on Sunday.

The victory, a fourth in a row since the Italian took over the Zenit reins from Mircea Lucescu, sent Saint Petersburg back to the top of the table on 12 points, alongside Lokomotiv Moscow, who beat SKA Khabarovsk 1-0 on Saturday.

Goals from Alexander Kokorin, Alexander Yerokhin, Italian Domenico Criscito and Daler Kuzyaev, as well as an own goal from Spartak goalkeeper Artem Rebrov, gave Mancini victory over his compatriot Massimo Carrera, while Dutchman Quincy Promes scored the visitors' consolation as both teams finished with 10 men.

Representative photo. Getty Images

Representative photo. Getty Images

"We've played a very good match," Mancini said. "Today we paid attention to every aspect of the game and as a result we've recorded a resounding victory."

Zenit, spurred on by a capacity 68,000 home crowd at Krestovsky stadium, poured forward and in the 36th minute Kokorin opened the scoring on the counter-attack.

At the end of the first-half, right winger Kuzyaev found the unmarked Yerokhin in the area to hammer home from close range.

Skipper Criscito added his goal 12 minutes after the interval when he converted from a corner, while Kuzyaev made it 4-0 for Zenit with a 22-yard shot in the 63rd minute.

Promes pulled one back in the 71st minute from the spot but six minutes later Rebrov made a hash of trying to clear a left-wing cross from Criscito, succeeding only in slapping the ball into his own net.

Zenit's Igor Smolnikov and Luiz Adriano of Spartak were sent off in stoppage time for fighting.

Elsewhere, last season's runners-up CSKA Moscow suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Rubin Kazan, with all the goals coming in the opening quarter of an hour.

Rubin got off to a flying start as Brazilian striker Cristian Jonatas opened the score in the second minute from a rebound after the CSKA defence failed to clear a Mijo Caktas corner.

In the 10th minute, Jonatas netted his second before CSKA wing-back Georgy Shchennikov grabbed a goal back three minutes later.

"My team tried hard to put into practice the plan that we'd worked out for the match," Rubin head coach Kurban Berdyev said.

"But Rubin aren't yet the team which I want to see. We need more time for realignment."

Published Date: Aug 07, 2017 10:51 AM | Updated Date: Aug 07, 2017 10:51 AM

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