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Zenit offer fresh hope to rivals with Lokomotiv draw


Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St Petersburg offered their rivals fresh hope as they drew 1-1 away to Lokomotiv in Moscow on Sunday. 

The draw left the Zenit four points clear of second-placed Krasnodar, who edged Samara 1-0 on Saturday. CSKA Moscow, who beat neighbours Spartak 2-0 also Saturday, sit third, one point further back.

“It’s a pity but we failed to win today,” said Zenit manager Sergei Semak. “We’ve conceded a disappointing goal from a deflection and failed to convert our chances later in the match.

“But we still top the league and are all set to win the next match.”

In a first half with little in the way of goalmouth action, Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun wasted the best chance in the 43rd minute. He beat Lokomotiv defence on a breakaway but lobbed the ball over the net with goalkeeper Marinato Guilherme stranded.

Nine minutes into the second half, Ukrainian full back Yaroslav Rakitskiy put Zenit 1-0 up, beating Guilherme with a well-struck 22-yard free kick. 

Right winger Vladislav Ignatiev levelled seven minutes later with an angled shot which deflected into the net off the Argentine midfielder Sebastian Driussi.

Zenit were awarded another freekick with 10 minutes to go but this time Guilherme denied Rakitskiy attempt from 25 yards out. 

Earlier on Sunday, Ufa boosted their chances of staying in the Premier League next season beating the visitors Rostov 1-0.

Nigerian forward Sylvester Igboun netted the only goal to lift the hosts Ufa into 14th, one point above the direct relegation places.

“Our main goal was to achieve positive result and we did it,” Ufa head coach Vadim Yevseyev said. “I’m pleased with my men’s performance today.”

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