Dynamo Moscow's loss allows Zenit St. Petersburg to open up gap in Russian Premier League title race

Zenit St. Petersburg players celebrate a goal in their recent RPL match (Image: Twitter/FC Zenit)
Zenit St. Petersburg players celebrate a goal in their recent RPL match (Image: Twitter/FC Zenit)
Amritangshu Bandyopadhyay

Dynamo Moscow, for a long while, seemed to be the club that could keep up with Zenit St. Petersburg in this year's Russian Premier League (RPL) title fight. At one point in time, they led the division with Zenit having played fewer games. However, after their recent defeat to Spartak Moscow, the battle for the RPL championship seems to be over.

Zenit's dominance in the division has been unparalleled in recent years. Only twice has the title moved out of Saint Petersburg in the last six years. Backed by gas giants Gazprom, the Sky-Blues have deep pockets and very much like Bayern Munich, they poach the best players from their rivals in the division.

Andre-Villas Boas and his Zenit players show how a photo shoot SHOULD be done. (Via: @javigarcia06)

The traditional contenders were off to a slow start this season, which allowed Zenit to create a gap from the rest.

Lokomotiv Moscow are not the same team that won the title in the 2017/18 season. CSKA, the winners of the 2015/16 season, are also far from their prime. It was only recently that they came into the picture for a European finish.

Despite the fact that little was expected of Dynamo Moscow, who are the lowest-ranked among the Moscow-based outfit, the underdogs have put up quite a fight.

The Sky Blues' dominance in the league is backed by the number of wins they can register with the squad at their disposal. But Dynamo Moscow, for the most part, kept pace with them.

They managed to overcome stronger teams in the division early on, including the likes of Krasnodar and CSKA. However, having picked up just four points from their three recent encounters, they have allowed Zenit to open up a five-point lead at the top.

Spartak Too Good for Dynamo Moscow

Despite registering a comprehensive 3-0 win against Nizhny last week, Dynamo Moscow were on the receiving end of a masterclass from Spartak, another team that has fallen down the pecking order in Russia.

FT: Dynamo 0-2 Spartak Great derby victory 🌟#DynamoSpartak ⚪️🔴

Spartak dominated through their stronger midfield and prevented any threat of a counter-attack. Dynamo Moscow's chances in the match were only via set-pieces and long-distance strikes. Neither Fedor Smolov nor Sebastian Szymański could have much of an impact on the game. They could only register a single shot on target.

Spartak utilized their dominance in possession as they went 2-0 up within the first forty-minutes. The home team saw a red card in the dying minutes of the first half which ended any hopes of a miraculous turnaround.

Despite having 10 games to go, Zenit are too formidable to slip up any more and are well on their way to a fourth straight domestic title. Dynamo Moscow will have to look to the future for another opportunity.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat


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