Zenit open title defence with a win
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Russia's reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg started their title defence with a comfortable 2-0 win over visitors Amkar Perm on Sunday.

Zenit started in lively fashion under the attentive gaze of Russia's new national coach Fabio Capello, pinning Amkar back right from the start and testing goalkeeper Roman Gerus.

Russian international Alexander Kerzhakov put Zenit ahead in the 37th minute when he received Roman Shirokov's pass at the edge of the area and slid in between two defenders to fire the ball precisely inside the left post.

After the break Zenit upped the pressure and in the 62nd minute Kerzhakov made it 2-0 with a precise spot-kick after Sergei Semak was fouled in the area to secure the hosts a well-deserved win.

"We overcame a strong opponent today. Amkar played very well before the opening goal," Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti said. "After the break we looked like (we did) in the best matches of the last season."

"In the second half we were in complete control. We played aggressively and kept our rivals under constant pressure."

We played aggressively and kept our rivals under constant pressure.
Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti

Anzhi fight back
Meanwhile, Russian big-spenders Anzhi Makhachkala battled back from a goal down to beat Kuban Krasnodar 2-1 in their season opener.

Anzhi were trailing 1-0 after their Brazilian full-back Joao Carlos sent the ball into his own net, attempting to clear Kuban defender Igor Lolo's pass in the opening minute.

Anzhi poured on the attack seeking an equaliser, though, and their captain Samuel Eto'o pulled the score level 30 minutes later, sending home a rebound after Kuban goalkeeper Alexander Belenov deflected his initial shot.

Ivorian forward Lacina Traore gave Anzhi the lead with two minutes before the break, latching onto team-mate Mbark Boussoufa's short right-wing cross to score from close range.

In the second half, Anzhi continued to dominate possession and despite creating more goalscoring opportunities, failed to increase their lead.