29.08.2015 20:43 h

Champions Zenit crash at promoted Samara

Georgiy Gabulov (r.)
Georgiy Gabulov (r.)

Reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg hopes of retaining their title suffered another setback following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of promoted Samara on Saturday.

A brace by Belarus forward Sergei Kornilenko and a goal by midfielder Georgy Gabulov sealed the win at Zenit's Petrovsky stadium to lift Samara into seventh.

Zenit remain in second three points behind the leaders CSKA Moscow, who face Kuban Krasnodar on Sunday.

"I'm very happy with the way we've played and the of course the result," said Samara coach Frank Vercauteren.

"We knew that it would be tough to play here but my players did everything exactly as I've asked them. And I'm very happy as a coach as today it paid off."

Zenit dominated the play from the kick-off but it was Samara's midfielder Gabulov, who opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a shot from just outside the box following a cross pumped in by Frenchman Yohan Mollo.

In the 33rd minute Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas was sent off for a series of protests on the sidelines by referee Igor Fedotov.

Hulk missed a chance to equalise with five minutes remaining before the break as his powerful freekick from 19 metres hit the crossbar and bounced back away.

Zenit levelled four minutes after the interval when Samara's Brazilian back Jose Nadson sent the ball into his own net in attempt to stop a cross by Oleg Shatov.

Kornilenko restored the visitors lead just three minutes later firing home from eight metres from another fine cross from Mollo.

In the 56th minute Mollo set up Samara's third goal as he found the unmarked Kornilenko in the area and he hammered the ball past Zenit 'keeper Yury Lodygin.

Zenit received another chance to score right after the hour mark when Samara defenders fouled Hulk in the area. But the Brazilian failed to reduce the arrears as Samara 'keeper Yevgeny Konyukhov parried his spotkick.

"Today our performance was very, very poor," Villas-Boas said.

"Our defensive play wasn't properly organised as we allowed Samara too much today.

"I know that we can play much better and I take full responsibility for this result."

Elsewhere, Russia's most successful club Spartak Moscow failed to capitalize on Zenit's flop as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of another promoted side Anzhi Makhachkala.

Dutch midfielder Lorenzo Ebecilio put Anzhi 1-0 up in the 27th minute sending the ball into unguarded net after Spartak goalie Artem Rebrov's error.

Dmitry Kombarov pulled the scores level in the 53rd minute with a precise spotkick after Anzhi fouled his twin brother Kirill in the area.

But Anzhi full back Alexander Zhirov netted his team's winner with a close-range header off a well-served corner with four minutes to go.