Zenit rescues draw against Russian leader CSKA
MOSCOW (AP) Zenit St. Petersburg bounced back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with leader CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League on Saturday.
The draw was a morale-booster for a Zenit team that has been in turmoil, keeping the St. Petersburg side within six points of CSKA, which remained unbeaten in its first eight games.
Coach Andre Villas-Boas, who said on Thursday he will leave Zenit at the end of the season, watched from a box at Arena Khimki as he served the first game of a six-match ban for striking an official in the chest.
CSKA went ahead early through an own goal from Nicolas Lombaerts, and Seydou Doumbia made it 2-0 from close range in the 22nd minute.
Striker Hulk scored from a 39th-minute spot kick after he was hacked down in the penalty area by CSKA midfielder Zoran Tosic.
Zenit goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin leaped to save an Alan Dzagoev penalty in the 71st after Ezequiel Garay held back Doumbia, and the scoreline stayed at 2-1 until the 88th, when Zenit fullback Igor Smolnikov sped into the box to score the equalizer.
The game could have taken a different turn just before halftime when CSKA center-back Sergei Ignashevich blatantly fouled Zenit striker Artyom Dzyuba, preventing him from reaching a cross which would have left him with a simple tap-in. Dzyuba responded by striking Ignashevich in the head with an elbow. Referee Vitaly Meshkov opted against a penalty or a red card for Dzyuba, issuing the forward with only a booking.
Elsewhere, Lokomotiv Moscow failed to take advantage of CSKA and Zenit dropping points, losing 3-1 away to Rubin Kazan. The Railwaymen remained second in the standings, five points behind CSKA and one ahead of Zenit.
Under the control of caretaker coach Valery Chaly after the firing of Rinat Bilyaletdinov, Rubin had lost six of its seven previous games, and the win lifted it off the foot of the table.
Elsewhere, Amkar Perm and Kuban Krasnodar drew 1-1.