Zenit clinch second consecutive title
Zenit St Petersburg clinched their second consecutive Russian title and third overall with a 2-1 win over guests Dynamo Moscow on Saturday. The result left Zenit, who also won the 1984 title, with 84 points from 41 matches and an unassailable 15-point advantage over Moscow sides Dynamo and CSKA, who share second spot.
Zenit, who needed just a point in their home match with Dynamo to secure the title, started confidently and clinched the lead in the 30th minute through midfielder Roman Shirokov, who scored on Andrei Arshavin's pass.
Alexander Kerzhakov added his goal six minutes later, scoring with a precise spot-kick after Dynamo defender Balazs Dzsudzsak fouled Vladimir Bystrov in the box. Dynamo full-back Alexandru Epureanu reduced the arrears just before the interval, but failed to save the day for his club. However, Zenit were weakened in the 56th minute, when Konstantin Zyryanov was sent off.
"My team have played two terrific consecutive seasons and this one was especially great," said Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti. "It was a long and tough season, but we did everything right. My team have tremendous character and today my guys demonstrated it again."
CSKA take derby spoils
CSKA joined Dynamo in second after beating old foes Spartak 2-1 in the Moscow derby. Serbian midfielder Zoran Tosic put CSKA 1-0 up in the 23rd minute with a 35-metre free-kick and a little help from a slight deflection.
Spartak forward Artem Dzyuba equalised just before the break firing into the top left-handed corner after some good individual work. But Tosic became the match hero scoring his second to restore the Red Army side's lead in the 57th minute, sending the ball into the net with another precise free-kick from the right edge of the area.
Spartak midfielder Dmitry Kombarov virtually dashed his side's chances when he was sent off for a second bookable offence with nine minutes to go.
Anzhi seal Europa League berth
Anzhi Makhachkala, coached by Dutch guru Guus Hiddink, beat guests Lokomotiv Moscow 3-1 to leapfrog them in the table to take fifth and with it, the right to play in the UEFA Europa League next season.
Anzhi clinched the lead in the 25th minute, when Lokomotiv defender Taras Burlak sent the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear Samuel Eto'o's right-handed cross. Six minutes later Lokomotiv captain Denis Glushakov levelled firing home from just inside the area after an Anzhi mix-up in defence.
But Eto'o netted Anzhi's winning goal in the 64th minute, sending the ball into the net with a sharp-angled shot despite the physical presence of two Lokomotiv defenders. The Cameroonian star rounded off the scoring in injury time with his 11th goal this season, with a close-range shot.
"We have been fine-tuning our attacking actions in recent weeks as it's not so easy to score in the Russian league," Hiddink said. "Today our homework paid off.