Zenit win Russian title
Zenit St. Petersburg have won the 2010 Russian Premier League title following a 5-0 thrashing of visiting Rostov on Sunday in front of a capacity 22,000 crowd at Saint Petersburg's Petrovsky stadium.
The result left Zenit with an unassailable eight-point lead ahead of second-placed CSKA Moscow with two matches remaining. Rubin Kazan are third on 56 points. Zenit, who won their first title in 2007, dominated from the start but failed to pull ahead until five minutes before the break, when their Serbian striker Danko Lazovic scored from the spot after the visitors fouled him in the area.
After the interval Zenit were still in command testing the Rostov defence and increased their lead through veteran Sergei Semak and striker Alexander Kerzhakov, who scored one apiece. Late substitute Alexander Bukharov, who came on in the 88th minute, rounded off the scoring with a double in the dying seconds to the delight of the Zenit supporters.
"It was tough in the beginning as we were under pressure," said Zenit manager Luciano Spalletti. "Everybody expected us to win the title today and the players were feeling that pressure. After we gained the lead we all relaxed and were keeping the play under control."
"We all wanted to win today in front of our supporters and luckily we managed to do it," added the manager.
CSKA, who desperately needed to win to stay in the title chase, started in a lively style in Nalchik but missed their opportunities until the 59th minute when Brazilian striker Vagner Love lifted the Red Army side with a converted penalty. The Muscovites failed to defend their narrow lead with Nalchik forward Arsen Goshokov grabbing the equaliser with just one minute to go.
Meanwhile, champions Rubin Kazan lost all hope of defending their title with a 2-2 away draw to Dynamo Moscow. Dynamo were leading 2-0 after defender Alexander Epureanu and German striker Kevin Kuranyi scored one apiece in the first half. However, after the break Rubin moved up a gear pinning the hosts back and equalised through Equadorian midfielder Christian Noboa, who scored twice within 15 minutes.