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Zenit St. Petersburg back on track in Russia as leader CSKA Moscow loses


MOSCOW — Zenit St. Petersburg reignited its push to retain the Russian Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Ural Yekaterinburg on Saturday as leader CSKA Moscow went down to a surprise defeat.

Going into the game against Ural 10 points behind CSKA, Zenit started well after Ezequiel Garay put the St. Petersburg team ahead with a 12th-minute free kick.

Zenit controlled possession and increased its lead with goals from Artyom Dzyuba in the 76th minute and Javi Garcia 13 minutes later.

As well as closing to seven points of CSKA, Zenit is now just one point off the Champions League qualifying places.

Zenit is in action in Europe at home to Valencia on Tuesday, but has already secured qualification from its Champions League group.

CSKA started the season with a 14-game unbeaten run in the Russian league but that has come to an end with what are now two straight defeats.

With star striker Seydou Doumbia missing due to exhaustion after international duty with the Ivory Coast, CSKA had little to offer in attack in a 2-0 home defeat to Krylya Sovetov Samara.

Adis Jahovic's speed tested CSKA's veteran center-back partnership of Sergei Ignashevich and Vasily Berezutsky throughout the game with the Macedonian forward scoring both of Krylya's goals.

Ahead of a Champions League meeting with Wolfsburg on Wednesday, CSKA still leads the Russian league by six points from surprise contender FC Rostov, which has a game in hand because it does not play FC Ufa until Monday.

Lokomotiv Moscow is third and could have snatched second Saturday but slumped to a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to last-placed Anzhi Makhachkala. Islamnur Abdulavov and Yannick Boli scored the goals which ended an eight-game winless run for Anzhi in the Russian league and puts the club from the Caucasus within two points of escaping the automatic relegation zone.

In Saturday's other game, Rubin Kazan rose to ninth place with a 2-1 win over Amkar Perm.

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