10-man Anzhi fight back to end Zenit’s unbeaten start

Anzhi Makhachkala came from behind to beat Zenit Saint Petersburg. (AFP pic)

MOSCOW: Russian Premier League leaders Zenit Saint Petersburg saw their unbeaten start to the season end on Sunday when 10-man Anzhi Makhachkala battled back from a goal down to chalk up a 2-1 win.

A first Russian league goal for Italian veteran Claudio Marchisio put Zenit into the lead but Anzhi’s Venezuelan forward Andrés Ponce and Vladislav Kulik scored one apiece to record a well-deserved win.

Zenit remain top of the table, three points clear of second-placed Krasnodar, who thrashed Dynamo Moscow 3-0.

Rostov, who edged Spartak Moscow 1-0, sit third, one point further back.

Marchisio broke the deadlock two minutes after the interval after a shot by Sebastián Driussi hit the woodwork and bounced back into play.

Ponce pulled the scores level after 71 minutes, firing the ball home with an angled close-range shot.

In the 76th minute, Anzhi skipper Dmitry Belorukov received a red card but Zenit failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage before Kulik scored the winner from the spot with seven minutes to go after Roland Gigolayev was fouled in the area.

“We’re in a difficult position and every win is precious for us,” Anzhi head coach Magomed Adiyev said.

For Krasnodar, Brazilian striker Ari opened the scoring in the 18th minute before Swede Viktor Claesson added a second in first-half injury time.

Claesson rounded off the scoring in the 55th minute when netted his second of the match from a right-wing cross by Wanderson.

“It was our third match this week but we played very good football today,” Krasnodar coach Murad Musayev said.

In Sunday’s late game, former Chelsea and England star John Terry was in the crowd to see Spartak face Rostov. Last month Terry rejected the offer to join Spartak for family reasons.

In the 67th minute, Rostov grabbed the only goal when Timofei Kalachev found the unmarked Alexander Zuyev, who scored at the second attempt.

“We wanted to win and everything worked well for us today,” said Rostov head coach Valery Karpin, who coached Spartak between 2009 and 2014.