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Zenit keeps perfect record in Russian league as Spartak ends CSKA's winning streak

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MOSCOW - Zenit St. Petersburg emerged as the big winner from the latest round of the Russian Premier League as title rival CSKA Moscow saw its record winning streak end Sunday.

Zenit, managed by Andre Villas-Boas, beat FC Ufa 1-0 on Saturday with a goal by Hulk to retain a 100 per cent record in the league this season. The match was played in an empty stadium in St. Petersburg as punishment for crowd trouble last season.

Zenit leads the league with 12 points from four games.

Defending champion CSKA failed to keep pace after a 1-0 derby defeat against Spartak Moscow. The loss ended CSKA's league-record 13-game winning streak, dating back to last season's title run-in.

Also Sunday, in the first match played at a finished World Cup 2018 arena, Rubin Kazan held Lokomotiv Moscow to a 1-1 draw at the new Kazan Arena on Sunday. Alexei Miranchuk scored for Lokomotiv on 26 minutes before Turkish midfielder Gokdeniz Karadeniz levelled for Rubin from the penalty spot five minutes later.

With both teams depleted by injuries to key players, Spartak goalkeeper Artyom Rebrov kept his side alive in the first half with a series of fine saves. His CSKA counterpart Igor Akinfeev continued a summer of mixed form, including for Russia at the World Cup, tripping up Spartak's Sergei Parshivlyuk to give away a penalty. Spartak captain Dmitry Kombarov scored the winning goal from the resulting spot kick.

The bad-tempered game saw 11 bookings and Parshivlyuk and CSKA's Kirill Nababkin sent off for their involvement in a stoppage-time scuffle.

Spartak now sits level with CSKA and Dynamo Moscow on nine points, three behind Zenit.

For Spartak, the win was a strong recovery from Wednesday's 4-0 thrashing at FC Krasnodar.

France midfielder Mathieu Valbuena continued his strong start to life with Dynamo on Sunday, setting up both goals in a 2-1 defeat of newly promoted Arsenal Tula. Four days before, he also assisted twice in a 2-0 win over Ufa.

Elsewhere, newly promoted Torpedo Moscow earned its first top-flight win since 2007, beating Ural Yekaterinburg 2-0.

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