MOSCOW (AP) A late goal from Artyom Dzyuba rescued a 2-2 draw for Zenit St. Petersburg against Spartak Moscow after goalkeeping errors looked set to condemn Zenit to defeat in the Russian Premier League.
A poor start to the season has left Zenit third after 10 games, on a four-game winless run in the league and eight points behind leader CSKA Moscow, which drew 1-1 with second-placed Lokomotiv Moscow earlier Saturday.
Goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin has been under pressure in recent months over some dubious decisions and Spartak’s opening goal did not help his case. Six minutes into the game, Lodygin charged forward expecting to cut out a Spartak pass which never reached him – the ball instead ending up with Spartak forward Ze Luis, who shot the ball into the unguarded net.
After some close calls, including a goal by Dzyuba ruled out for offside, Zenit leveled when Brazil striker Hulk blasted the ball into the net from almost 25 meters (yards) with a 27th-minute free kick.
However, on 70 minutes Lodygin ventured off his line and was caught out by Spartak’s Ivelin Popov, who flicked the ball up and lobbed it over the stranded goalkeeper. Dzyuba salvaged a point for Zenit with a shot from inside the box on 87 minutes while Spartak was down to 10 men as defender Salvatore Bocchetti received treatment following a clash with Dzyuba.
Zenit coach Andre Villas-Boas was again absent from the touchline as he served the third game of a six-game ban for striking an official.
Earlier, CSKA and Lokomotiv played out a dour draw at Arena Khimki, with both goals scored from the penalty spot in the space of five minutes in the first half.
Seydou Doumbia’s 16th-minute spot-kick put CSKA ahead after Lokomotiv’s Nemanja Pejcinovic fouled Kirill Panchenko, a penalty awarded even though the contact appeared to take place outside the box.
The Railwaymen swiftly equalized. Referee Sergei Karasyov pointed to the spot after Sergei Ignashevich obstructed Alexander Kolomeitsev from reaching a cross, and Baye Oumar Niasse scored the penalty.
Lokomotiv defended deep in the second half and stayed level thanks to a spectacular 74th-minute save from goalkeeper Guilherme, who tipped Zoran Tosic’s free kick over the bar. Lokomotiv was soon reduced to 10 men after center back Vedran Corluka talked himself into a second yellow card while disputing a decision.
CSKA remains top with a five-point lead over Lokomotiv.
Both CSKA and Zenit are in action in the Champions League, with the St. Petersburg side at home to Gent on Tuesday and CSKA hosting PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
Also Saturday, FC Ufa and Anzhi Makhachkala remained in the relegation zone, 15th and 16th respectively, after playing out a 1-1 draw.