MOSCOW, May 2 (RIA Novosti)
Andrei Arshavin's third goal in four games earned Russian Premier League champions Zenit a 2-2 draw at Rubin on Wednesday, hurting the Kazan side's quest for a European place.
Rubin had been set to dislodge Guus Hiddink's Anzhi from fifth, the final Europa League qualification spot, until the little Russian curled an equalizer home in the 70th minute to steal a share of the points.
As it is, Zenit maintain their unassailable lead at the top at 15 points over Dynamo, who drew 1-1 at Spartak Moscow.
Rubin go level on 65 points with Lokomotiv, who host joint-second CSKA Moscow later.
Rubin went in front inside ten minutes when Gokdeniz Karadeniz's cross evaded everyone except striker Alexander Ryazantsev, who poked home at the back post.
Russia midfielder Sergei Semak leveled on 50 minutes, taking down a high ball on the tip of his toe and smashing home a left-footed shot into the right corner of the goal.
Bibras Natkho almost mirrored Semak's effort to put the hosts ahead, controlling on his chest before hitting a power drive past Yury Zhevnov, with a slight deflection off a defender.
Arshavin made it 2-2 on 70 minutes, slotting into the corner from the edge of the area after good work down the right flank from Igor Denisov.
The 31-year-old has hit a rich vein of form since being slowly introduced back into regular first-team play, recording only his second full 90 minutes in eight games since joining on loan from Arsenal.
It seemed for much of Wednesday's game that Rubin would take all three points.
Rubin goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov saved point-blank from Viktor Fayzulin as Zenit responded immediately.
Andrei Arshavin turned to hit a half-volley over the bar minutes later, before Fayzulin tested Ryzhikov from distance.
Then, Semak stepped past a defender to slam against the far post.
Paraguay striker Nelson Valdes got too much on a free header six yards out on the half hour before repeating the feat five minutes later.
Israeli midfielder Bibras Natkho burst through but fired over and the hosts in the last chance of the first half.
Alexander Bukharov blasted a low shot at Ryzhikov after Semak's equalizer, before Sergei Davydov forced a similar save out of Zhevnov in the Zenit goal.
Bukharov glanced wide soon after as Zenit turned the screw.
Ryzhikov then got down smartly to deflect away a vicious free kick from Zenit's Italian midfielder Alessandro Rosina.
At the other end Roman Yeryomenko connected sweetly with a cross from the left but Zhevnov was equal to it.
Earlier Wednesday, there were two other 2-2 draws, one between bottom club Spartak Nalchik and FC Rostov; and the other between Amkar Perm and FC Krasnodar.
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