Anzhi Christopher Samba

Hiddink and Spalletti Share Points

4:45 PMGoalChatter

In a style not at all reminiscent of the Dynamo vs. Terek match, Anzhi tied with last season's champions Zenit in Makhachkala, Russia. Both veteran and rookie players played a great game for Zenit. 18-year-old Luka Đorđević made his debut for the RPL champions, playing a full 90 minutes and partaking in some of the most important attacks of the game. Both teams played an open game from start to finish, but Zenit took over the midfield roughly 15 minutes in. Đorđević set up the attack on the 20th minute outside the box and passed to Bystrov. The latter moved towards the center and got the ball to Zyryanov, who fooled the defenders by delaying his shot, scoring from a meter away. Anzhi fired back with a counter. Shatov had a free kick for Anzhi on the 26th minute and delivered the ball into the box, getting Traore the header, which ricocheted off the pitch and was somehow saved by Russia National Team goalkeeper Malafeev. Fayzulin's right-footed shot on the 28th minute was easily apprehended by the keeper as well. Both teams were getting set pieces, but Anzhi were unable to equalize in the first half. Bystrov's shot from outside the box went flying close to the far post. Zenit had another attempt during added time when Fayzulin and Zyryanov completed a corner and got the ball to the rookie Đorđević, whose shot hit the post for the second time in the match and ricocheted out onto the pitch. At halftime, Zenit led in possession 56:44%, had 4 times more shots on goal than the home team, and were equal in corners.

Anzhi keeper Gabulov makes the save. Photo: FC Zenit Official Website.
Guus Hiddink must have given his team the right advice during the break; Anzhi was determined as ever to score and got ahead in the initiative, though Zenit were still attacking. Anzhi still had problems finishing, while Zyryanov lost the chance to score a double. The home team was temporarily down to 10 men while Zhirkov got treated for a broken nose. Oleg Shatov scored the equalizer for Anzhi on the 66th minute. Manager Guus Hiddink looked formidably calm, as though that's exactly the way things should be. Tagirbekov's throw-in into the box flew to Chris Samba, who assisted Shatov's goal. Smolov attempted to make a one-on-one run with the Zenit keeper, but Malafeev was there first. Fans kept chanting "till the end", reminding the players that the game isn't over until the final whistle blows. Although Zenit had a few more attempts, the team wasn't very technical when it came to set pieces. The best free kick Spaletti's team had came on the 90th minute when Fayzulin's free kick went just a bit over the net. Anzhi took the final corner - Samba's shot ricocheted off a defender, and Smolov's ball skidded on top of the net. Manager Spalletti ran up to the stand of Zenit fans and applauded them for their support, a nice tradition that the Italian manager keeps up. Both Zenit and Anzhi played a great game; the tie was a fair result. 

Zenit currently occupies the leader board with 12 points, having won all 4 of their games. Spartak Moscow have 12 points after 5 games as well, winning 4 and losing 1. Anzhi are temporarily in 7th place, as the two teams above have only one more point. The two teams below Anzhi, Krylya Sovetov and Krasnodar, are only one point away from catching up as well. 

Russian Premier League
Sunday, August 19, 2012, 1PM EST

Anzhi Makhachkala vs. Zenit St. Petersburg - 1:1 (0:1)
Arena: Dynamo Stadium (Makhachkala, Russia)
Referee: Vladimir Kazmenko (Rostov-on-Don, Russia)
0:1 Konstantin Zyryanov (Asst. Vladimir Bystrov) ('20)
1:1 Oleg Shatov (Asst. Christopher Samba) ('66)

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