Zenit`s head coach gave his players the freedom to compete with each other at their fourth practice of the pre-season in Dubai: right after the traditional stretching and “runs” thought up by Alberto Bartali and Marco Domenichini, the coaching staff then proposed to the footballers that they continue their tennis-ball battles. The teams played in the same configurations that they were in at the first practices, with just one change – Sergey Semak was given two days off to go to Moscow for family reasons. No other changes took place – the players kicked the ball over the improvised nets with the same laughter and arguments about where the ball hit the ground.
After warming up with tennis ball, the players changed the field and narrowed the field slightly, moving the goals twenty-five meters closer to one another. Luciano Spalletti narrowed the football rules too: goals were allowed only after certain passing combinations in the first scrimmage of the night. Both teams did well with the task, but the final advantage was on the side of the footballers who played without pennies – 3:1. Goals were scored by Miguel Danny, Alexander Kerzhakov, Danko Lazović (from a penalty kick) and Alexander Bukharov.
After two fifteen-minute periods using only one type of attack the Zenit players then took a short break, moved the goals, and played third and fourth halves. This time the match was held on half of the field, with Nikolay Vorobyev as referee. The exciting game had a number of goals. The side in pennies won 4:1. Bukharov had two excellent goals (thereby giving himself a hat-trick for the night). Alexey Ionov also scored a pretty goal, while Alessandro Rosina scored in an empty net after dribbling around the goalkeeper. Danny scored a prestige goal after that.
On Tuesday Zenit will have the same practice schedule as in the first day of practice: the morning practice will be held at the hotel, and the evening practice will take place at the Strelkovy Practice Facility.