Petersburg – 21!

Zenit set a new record for most matches in a row without losing in the Russian Premier League.

It seems like Zenit didn’t notice the change in season from summer to fall. The Petersburg club keeps winning, scoring lots of goals to go with their victories.

The Russian Premier League leader brought typical St. Petersburg weather to Nalchik. There was a constant drizzling rain all day long on match day. That said, the pitch at the stadium in Kabardino-Balkariya’s capital, (unlike the grass in Makhachkala, where Anzhi hosted Spartak), held up well.

Both teams lost some key players before the match. On the Zenit side, Huszti and Semak, who couldn’t play due to injuries, didn’t even make the flight to Nalchik. The home team didn’t have their halfback Kontsedalov, who was recovering after injury, or their team captain – Dzudovic –the core of their defense, who picked up his fourth yellow card in the previous match with Dynamo. The match started from a splash in the face to Nalchik: Bystrov passed to the center of the penalty box in the 2nd minute, the ball was deflected by a defender right to Kerzhakov, and the latter quickly shot the ball into the net.

Zenit played at fast speed and completely covered the hosts, who weren’t able to create any scoring opportunities. Kerzhakov got his brace in the 22nd minute – 0:2.

The home team only got their first shot off on Malafeev’s goal in the 43rd minute, and that became a signal of more to come, as Spartak Nalchik bombarded the guests right before the half. The Nalchik side scored in injury time: Golic scored off a long, high free kick from Geteriev right before the teams left for the locker room – 1:2. When the half-time whistle sounded Spalletti jumped at the referee, Karasev, in disbelief that a free kick had been given in the first place.

Zenit got another quick goal to start the second half. This one came thanks to Zyryanov's efforts, who got around two defenders in the Nalchik penalty box before crossing to Shirokov, who headed the ball into the net, thereby increasing the Zenit lead to two goals again – 1:3.

That said, Zenit had to worry a lot at the end of the match. In the 89th minute the Spartak side got a free kick won by Siradze, who had come on as a substitute. Vasin stepped up to take it and slammed a rocket right through Malafeev’s hands to make the score 2:3.

But in the end Zenit left the capital of Kabardino-Balkariya with three points and set a record in the Russian Premier League for number of matches in a row without a loss. The Petersburg side has now gone 21 matches in a row without losing in the Russian League.