Zenit St Petersburg clung onto their 100 per cent record in UEFA Europa League Group G with a narrow victory at Hajduk Split which also ensured their place in the last 32 of the competition.
The Russians appeared to be cruising thanks to goals from Aleksei Ionov, Szabolcs Huszti and Alessandro Rosina, but strikes from Marin Ljubicic and Ante Vukusic set up an intriguing climax at the Stadion Poljud. Zenit hung on for the win, though, which moves them eight points clear at the top of the standings with two matches remaining.
Hajduk made a confident start and Ivan Strinic warmed the palms of Zenit keeper Viacheslav Malafeev with his left-footed strike after nine minutes. But the Russian visitors soon hit their stride and Fernando Meira headed inches over the bar before Aleksandr Aniukov had two chances in as many minutes - the first clearing the crossbar and the second swerving past the right post.
Hajduk responded with a fine shot from Marin Tomasov which had to be tipped round the post by Malafeev after 23 minutes. But the Croatian side found themselves trailing eight minutes later when their defence failed to clear a corner from Rosina, allowing Ionov to tuck the ball into the bottom left of the net from near the penalty spot.
Zenit set about building on their lead and only the agility of Danijel Subasic prevented them from doing so, with the Hajduk goalkeeper producing two excellent diving saves to keep out efforts from Huszti and Rosina before the interval. But it all began to fall apart for the home side at the start of the second half as they shipped two goals in four minutes.
Huszti fired home a penalty two minutes after the restart, making the most of the opportunity gifted to his side by Jurica Buljat's challenge on Alexander Bukharov. And the Hajduk defender committed another foul soon after - this time on Huszti - to concede a second spot-kick. Rosina stepped up to take this one, and although his effort was parried by Subasic, the Zenit midfielder made amends by putting away the rebound.
Hajduk managed to get themselves off the mark after 69 minutes thanks to Ljubicic, whose neat left-footed volley found the bottom corner following Strinic's cross. And Vukusic further reduced the deficit seven minutes from time, tapping in a well-placed cross from Mario Maloca.
However, Hajduk were unable to complete the comeback and slipped to the foot of the group, albeit just one point behind Anderlecht and AEK Athens.