02.03.2019 20:08 h

Azmoun winner keeps Zenit top in Russia

Azmoun (r.)
Azmoun (r.)

Iran forward Sardar Azmoun helped stretch leaders Zenit St Petersburg's advantage at the top of the Russian Premier League after a 1-0 victory over Ural Yekaterinburg on Saturday.

The win in their first match after the winter break moved Zenit four points clear of second-placed Krasnodar, who travel to Spartak Moscow on Sunday.

CSKA Moscow who are in third spot suffered a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal Tula in a match which was switched to Grozny after the league deemed Tula Stadium pitch unplayable.

Zenit dominated the first half but had to wait until the 42nd minute to score when Magomed Ozdoev lobbed the ball on to Azmoun into the area and the Iranian headed it in.

"We played well in the first half and deservedly scored a goal," Zenit manager Sergei Semak said.

"After the break we had more chances and we could have avoided a nervous ending if we managed to convert them," the former PSG midfielder added.

In Grozny, Luka Djordjevic opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 48th minute firing home a rebound to nutmeg CSKA's Igor Akinfeev after Evans Kangwa's initial effort hit the woodwork and bounced back into play.

The capital city side pushed forward looking for an equaliser but Zambia frontman Kangwa scored with two minutes remaining to claim the three points for Arsenal.

Reigning champions Lokomotiv Moscow failed to leapfrog CSKA as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Samara as both teams finished with 10 men.

Samara's winger Alexander Samedov found the unmarked Zhano Ananidze at the egde of the area and he kept his cool to slot the ball into the corner after 19 minutes.

Anton Miranchuk made it level just four minutes later hammering the ball in from 12 yards out from a cross by Vladislav Ignatiev.

In the 56th minute Samara's Uruguay centre-back Agustin Rogel was sent off for elbowing the hosts' Dmitri Barinov.

Lokomotiv made the visitors pay nine minutes later when midfielder Miranchuk netted his second of the match.

But Lokomotiv failed to maintain their lead as Samara's Ramil Sheydaev equalised smashing the ball past Marinato Guilherme with 20 minutes to play.

The home side's captain Igor Denisov was given his marching orders by referee Vladislav Bezborodov with qurter of an hour remaining for a second bookable offence.