MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti)
Vladimir Bystrov's diving header and Andrei Arshavin's late volley gave Zenit St. Petersburg a 2-0 win over CSKA Moscow on Saturday to all but seal the Russian Premier League title with five games remaining.
Bystrov crashed his header off goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and into the net on 63 minutes after a knockdown from Alexander Kerzhakov.
Kerzhakov then turned supplier to cross to substitute Arshavin, who rifled home a hip-level volley with Akinfeev motionless in the dying seconds.
The visitors came closest through top scorer Seydou Doumbia, who smashed against the top of the crossbar in the first half.
With the win, Zenit go 14 points clear with 15 points left to play for.
Four points from the remaining five games will mathematically ensure the title heads north for a second successive season, or three if third-placed Spartak Moscow lose Sunday against Rubin.
Neither side asserted themselves in a scrappy opening that saw Seydou Doumbia and Tomas Necid fire over for the visitors.
Igor Denisov had Zenit's first meaningful shot on goal, skewed wide from distance.
Necid side-footed low toward the corner but Vyacheslav Malafeev palmed away on 24 minutes, before Doumbia grazed the top of the crossbar from the resulting corner.
The miss breathed life into the match, with Roman Shirokov looping a header over at the other end.
Kerzhakov then missed an open goal after Konstantin Zyryanov crossed from the right, before Necid miscued a first-time volley just ten yards out.
Italian left-back Domenico Criscito sent an audacious half-volley dipping just over Igor Akinfeev's goal from fully 35 yards as half time approached.
Criscito started the second half in the same vein, dodging three tackles and shooting low straight at Akinfeev, who was playing his first match after eight months out with knee ligament trouble.
Shirokov repeated the feat moments later.
Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti brought on Andrei Arshavin 10 minutes into the second half, and the move bore fruit as the diminutive midfielder supplied the cross that led to the goal.
CSKA pushed forward looking for an equalizer but Zenit looked more threatening as the match drew on.
Tomas Necid scooped a shot wide for the visitors on 79 minutes, but Zenit pressed down the channels, and it paid off in the final minute.
Kerzhakov outmuscled two defenders to loop over a cross, which Arshavin lashed home first time. It was the 30-year-old's first goal in five games for Zenit, who acquired him on loan from Arsenal in January.
Earlier Saturday, Marcos Pizzelli's second-half free kick canceled out Roman Pavlyuchenko's opener to earn FC Kuban a 1-1 draw against Lokomotiv Moscow.
FC Tomsk scored their biggest win of the season with a 3-0 triumph over Terek Grozny, and a Sergei Kornilenko double helped Krylya Sovetov come back for a 2-1 win over nine-man Amkar Perm.
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