Zenit St. Petersburg did enough to keep themselves well in front of CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League title race on Saturday, when they held their opponents to a 2-2 draw at the Luzhniki Stadium. Zenit will feel like they probably should have won the game, but a road draw against their main rivals will be good enough for them, especially considering the nine-point gap between the teams in the league table.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov struck for Zenit just seconds into the match as the CSKA back line looked like they didn't know that the game started. Shortly after kickoff, a long ball was played out of the Zenit defense, over the top towards Kerzhakov. He was easily onside and took off between the two CSKA central defenders, racing onto the ball before he placed a brilliant far post finish past Sergei Revyakin to give his team the lead just 18 seconds in.
Zenit should have had a two-goal lead in the 7th minute if not for an absolutely shocking miss by Roman Shirokov. Kerzhakov set him up with a fantastic cross to the back post, and Revyakin was caught in no-man's land. The simplest of touches would have guided the ball into the back of an empty net, but Shirokov somehow managed to hit the post when it was much, much easier to score.
The home side found their equalizer in the 17th minute through star playmaker Alan Dzagoev. After a cross from Zoran Tosic went too long for anyone to do anything with it, Keisuke Honda controlled the ball on the opposite side of the pitch and put in a much better ball, which found the head of Dzagoev. Vyacheslav Malfeev made a stunning reaction save, but he couldn't smother the rebound and Dzagoev poked his second chance into the back of the net.
Kerzhakov restored Zenit's lead in the 56th minute with an absolute beauty of a volley. He ran onto a ball from Tomas Hubocan and from the edge of the penalty area, looped a stunning shot over the outstretched hand of Revyakin, who had absolutely no chance to make a save.
CSKA would find an equalizer, but would never found the winner they needed to stay in the title race. New signing Ahmed Musa netted the goal that gave them the one point that aids them in the race for second place, scoring in the 68th minute. Zenit now has a lead in the title race that is more or less insurmountable for CSKA, and it's close to that for everyone else as well.