Smolov gives Krasnodar win in season opener

Moscow (AFP) – FC Krasnodar, who finished fourth last season, cruised to a 3-0 win over newly-promoted Tomsk in their Russian Premier League opener on Monday.

Last season’s top scorer Fedor Smolov netted either side of a strike by Brazilian Ari, as Krasnodar got their campaign off to the perfect start.

Krasnodar were in command from the start, but failed to convert their chances until the 44th minute when Ari helped the ball on to Smolov in the area and he hammered home from close range.

Ari added his goal 12 minutes after the break, lobbing Tomsk keeper Anton Kochenkov with a pinpoint header from the edge of the box, before Smolov made it 3-0 just before the hour mark wih a powerful 20-yard drive.

“The first half was difficult,” Krasnodar manager Oleg Kononov said. “We had the intiative but Tomsk defended really well.

“Luckily we scored before the interval. It was a very important goal. In the second half Tomsk came forward allowing us to create plenty of chances. We could have scored more than twice (after the break).”

Elsewhere, ten-man Rubin Kazan failed to win their new manager Javi Gracia’s first match in Russia as they were held to a goalless draw by visitors Amkar Perm.

Rubin dominated, but striker Maxim Kanunnikov  dashed their hopes of a win when he was sent off in the 35th minute for a second bookable offence.

“We dominated posession early on but it was a delusive advantage as we failed to create any scoring chances,” Gracia told Rubin’s website.

“After we were reduced to 10 men the play went some different way. We sat back, while Amkar also played defensively. In the second half it was a kind of a locked game.”


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