04.05.2019 20:51 h

Zenit claim Russian title after Lokomotiv slip-up

Zenit St Petersburg claimed their fifth Russian title on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Akhmat Grozny after closest challengers Lokomotiv Moscow lost 2-0 at Arsenal Tula.

With three games to go Zenit are assured of the title with a nine-point lead and a better head-to-head record against second-placed Lokomotiv.

This was Zenit's first title in four years.

Akhmat dominated Zenit but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Andrei Lunev left the 13,000 home crowd frustrated.

In the 33rd minute Argentinian forward Sebastian Driussi scored for Zenit but his goal was disallowed for offside.

Brazilian midfielder Ismael put Akhmat into the lead 10 minutes after the break with an unopposed shot from 22 yards out. Zenit's Driussi levelled the score with a 10-yard effort through traffic with three minutes remaining.

"We've wasted a lot of emotions today," Zenit manager Sergei Semak said. "When you are just a stone's throw away from the title it's really hard to force yourself to play at your best.

"I'm glad that my men saved a very difficult match. We could have won today but it's necessary to score more goals if you want to win."

Zenit claimed the title on their way back home from Grozny with Arsenal Tula's win over Lokomotiv.

Arsenal Tula opened the scoring in the 24th minute through midfielder Zelimkhan Bakaev's 20-yard shot.

Montenegrin forward Luka Djordjevic added a second in the 59th minute, firing into an unguarded goal following a monumental error by Lokomotiv 'keeper Marinato Guilherme.

Earlier, 10-time former champions Spartak Moscow chalked up a 1-0 win at Ural Yekaterinburg to keep alive their slim chances of securing Champions League football next season.

Brazilian midfielder Fernando netted Spartak's winner with a late 25-yard volley.