Zenit kick off Champions League preparations after easy Volga win

Zenit Saint Petersburg have extended their lead to five points at the top of the Russian Premier League after an easy 3-0 win at home to Volga Nizhny Novgorod.

­Zenit did not have to wait long to get their noses in front, with the hosts taking the lead after just two minutes courtesy of Viktor Fayzulin.

The midfielder was left unmarked after the corner and slotted past Volga keeper Ilya Abaev from close range, bringing the score to 1-0.  

Striker Aleksandr Bukharov doubled their lead seven minutes before half time thanks to a great assist from Sergey Semak.

And Danko Lazovic put the result beyond doubt in the second half as he scored from the penalty spot to compound Volga’s misery, 3-0.

Afterwards, coach Luciano Spalletti said he was pleased his side had not taken their foot off the gas until the final whistle.

“It’s hard to play so many games in a row for every team,”
he stressed. “The main thing is to stay focused and enter every match with a clear understanding that victory is what’s needed.  And the guys are doing it. I want to thank my team for their desire to fight and their high motivation.”  

Zenit are now preparing for their Champions League match with Shaktah Donetsk next week, but will be without Striker Aleksander Kerzhakov, who is injured.

“Kerzhakov is an important player for us, but he is unlikely to recover for the Shakhat game,” Spalletti said. “But Bukharov is showing great form in recent games. And in a match with Volga he was, if not the best, then surely one of the best on the pitch.”

Zenit currently sit second in their Champions League Group G, having four points after three games.

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