Match Report from Zenit's title-winning match against Rostov

Artur's late goal Saturday at Gazprom Arena secured Zenit a 2-1 home victory and a sixth successive Russian Premier Liga (RPL) title.

Match Report from Zenit's title-winning match against Rostov

Prior to today's match, Zenit were in second place with 54 points, two points behind first-placed Dynamo Moscow after 29 games. Zenit needed to win today, and Krasnodar had to defeat Dynamo for the blue-white-sky blues to be crowned Russian champions for a sixth straight year.

Zenit won their last match 5-1 on 19 May at Akhmat Arena against Akhmat Grozny, ending a four-match winless streak in the RPL, as Mateo Cassierra scored all five goals for the blue-white-sky blues.

Today, we also marked the 99th birthday anniversary of the club, which was founded on 25 May 1925.

Zenit and Rostov played out a 1-1 draw in their last RPL meeting, a July match at Rostov Arena. Cassierra put the visitors ahead just before the halftime whistle, but Rostov's Nikolay Komlichenko levelled it up from the spot in the 93rd minute.

Rostov was on the front foot from the get-go, testing the Zenit net early as Maksim Osipenko's left-footed shot from outside the box in the 10th minute was saved by Denis Adamov. In the 23rd minute, Kirill Shchetinin found himself in space on a Rostov counterattack with only the goalkeeper to beat, but Adamov was there to make the stop.

Zenit's first real chance came when Claudinho delivered a corner kick and found Gustavo Mantuan on the edge of the 18-yard box. Mantuan unleashed a powerful right-footed shot toward the top centre of the goal, but Sergey Pesyakov managed to make a superb one-handed save. In the 35th minute, Claudinho produced a long-range attempt of his own, but his shot sailed over the woodwork. Six minutes later, the Brazilian midfielder found himself inside the Rostov penalty area after working the left side of the box. He attempted his signature curling shot to the far right side of the net, but it missed the target.

Ivan Sergeev was next to try his luck when Cassierra found the Russian striker on the left side of the box, yet his low-centre attempt went straight to Pesyakov.

Zenit and Rostov entered the locker room tied at 0-0, despite both sides creating numerous chances on goal through the first 45 minutes.

Sergei Semak changed the attacking lineup at halftime, substituting 18-year-old Pedro for Sergeev, as the blue-white-sky blues urgently needed to pull ahead.

Ronaldo opened the scoring for Rostov in the 54th minute. Ivan Komarov stole the ball in the home side's half and made a pass to the 23-year-old Brazilian in the penalty area. Ronaldo then took a shot, which ricocheted off Adamov and landed in the back of the net.

Pedro almost equalised the game three minutes later when he received Wendel's low cross on the left side of the Rostov penalty area. Pedro took a right-footed shot, but the Rostov defence blocked it on the goal line. However, the ball seemed to have struck Oumar Sako's hand, and following a VAR review, Zenit was granted a penalty. Mantuan stepped to the spot and blasted the ball firmly into the top left corner, levelling the match at 1-1. It was Mantuan's 11th goal of his Zenit career and his third of the 2023/2024 RPL campaign.

Cassierra thought he had put his side up 2-1 in the 72nd minute with a stunning bicycle kick goal after Claudinho's cross found the Colombian striker just above the six-yard box. But the goal was ruled out after a VAR check, keeping the game tied.

Zenit kept up the pressure. In the 79th minute, Cassierra curled a shot in an effort to find the right side of the Rostov net, but it went wide of the far post.

In the 85th minute, Artur sealed the match when he received a pass from Cassierra on the right side of the box. The Brazilian cut left and unleashed a left-footed shot that deflected off the hands of Pesyakov and landed in the bottom corner. The Brazilian removed his shirt in celebration as his teammates swarmed him. It was Artur's third goal of the 2023/2024 season.

Dynamo lost 1-0 to Krasnodar, allowing Zenit to claim its sixth consecutive RPL title and 11th in the club’s history with the 2-1 victory. Zenit finished the 2023/2024 RPL season with 57 points after 30 matches, one point ahead of Krasnodar, who secured second place with their triumph today.

The Russian champions seek to secure a domestic double in their next match against Baltika in the Russian Cup Super Final on Sunday, 2 June, at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Kick-off is set for 6.00pm local time. Tickets are available here.