Victory for Mario. “Zenith” destroyed the magic of Grozny

Last season Akhmat became the most uncomfortable opponent for Zenit, the Petersburgers, who confidently and with a margin once again became the champions of the country, never managed to defeat Grozny, drawing and losing at home. So the next meeting for the strongest team of the country has acquired a special color. However, Sergei Semak did not do without experiments, giving rest to Mikhail Kerzhakov and sending Alexander Vasyutin to defend the number one spot. But the rotation of goalkeepers in cup matches is used by many managers, so this decision was not surprising.

Cautious start

Zenit did not force things right from the kick-off, so the first half of the time passed in the mode of accurate mutual reconnaissance. In addition, the opening minutes were marred by another blow to the legs of the long-suffering Claudinho, who is on the verge of injury for the fourth game in a row, if the PARI Premier Cup match against Fenerbahce is taken into account. If it were hockey, it could be said that Zenit were not harmed by a moderately aggressive tough guy, which would discourage rivals from offending one of the team leaders. But in football, such solutions to the problem are not honored, so Claudinho has to endure and at the same time not lose focus on other people’s goals.

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As halftime crossed the equator, the home team began their favorite pastime, gradually tightening the offensive grip on Shelia’s possessions. In one of the episodes, it even seemed to many viewers that Zenit had achieved its goal, but Chistyakov in this situation hit the net from the outside.

Still, the Petersburgers squeezed their opponent before the break. A quick attack by the hosts ended with a pass from Sergeev to Mantovan, who hit Shelia’s doors with a roundhouse kick. Zenit could have scored more, but the sides went into the break with a slim blue-white-blue lead.

Long awaited debut

In the second half, a much-awaited event took place, not only by the blue-and-white fans. Mario Fernandez made his debut in the Zenit shirt, the transfer of which became one of the main topics of discussion in the past offseason. “Akhmat” at the debut of the second half was able to add something and tried Vasyutin’s goal several times. But the timely replacement of Fernandez helped Zenit take the match away from their own penalty area, and then the meeting continued in a manner befitting the champion. The Petersburgers regained control of the ball and were extremely reluctant to share it with their opponents.


Grozny did not give up and for a long time tried to achieve an acceptable result for himself. But time passed, and there were no real chances for Vasyutin’s goal. But Zenit used their chance: Claudinho, after Casierra’s pass, sent the ball past Shelia, and the oncoming Mostovoy did not take the goal from his partner, allowing him to deservedly show himself in the minutes of the meeting. After that, everything in this game finally became clear. The remaining minutes of the team frankly played the meeting to the stormy accompaniment of the fans of the hosts. 2:0 – Zenit start their cup campaign with a sure home victory over an uncomfortable opponent.


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