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Hulk helps Zenit extend winning run to five

AFP
Zenit's Brazilian forward Hulk plays the ball during the last 16 second-leg UEFA Champions League football match Borussia Dortmund vs Zenit St Petersburg in Dortmund on March 19, 2014
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Moscow (AFP) - Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St Petersburg beat Amkar Perm to extend their winning run to five on Saturday.

Goals by Oleg Shatov and Brazilian star striker Hulk retained Zenit's perfect start to the season and left them clear by three points from Spartak Moscow.

"I'm very, very proud of my team's performance," Andre Villas-Boas, Zenit's manager, said.

"We were in complete control of the game. And we've got the great result taking into consideration our very busy schedule," added the former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham boss.

"Hopefully we can achieve the qualification for the Champions League group stage after Tuesday's return leg match with Standard."

Zenit, turning out three days after their 1-0 win in the Champions League play-off match with Standard Liege, got off to a lively start when Shatov put them into a 13th minute lead with a low shot on Hulk's pinpoint pass into the area.

Nine minutes later Hulk had the home crowd on their feet when he made it 2-0 for Zenit, firing into the top left-handed corner from 14 metres despite the presence of four Amkar defenders.

A brace by forward Artem Dzyuba gave nine-time champions Spartak a 2-1 victory against Ufa, a game switched to Perm as Ufa's stadium did not meet the league's security requirements.

Dzyuba put the Muscovites 1-0 up after 27 minutes with a close-range header following a corner by Dmitry Kombarov.

Seven minutes later Dzyuba made it 2-0 for Spartak, heading home again from Dutch midfielder Quincy Promes' right-handed cross to put him top of the scorers' charts with six goals.

Brazilian striker Diego Carlos pulled one back for Ufa after a Spartak defensive blunder with 16 minutes to go.

"We started well having scored twice in the first half," Spartak manager Murat Yakin said.

"We had the chances to score the third but missed them. Luckily, we managed to keep our lead through and grab all three points despite a nervous ending."

In Saturday's other match, reigning champions CSKA Moscow suffered their second consecutive league defeat 2-1 at Rubin Kazan.

Rubin forward Igor Portnyagin opened the scoring in the 17th minute when he headed home Elmir Nabiullin's left-handed cross, while CSKA Isralei midfielder Bebars Natcho levelled just before the break from the penalty spot.

Turkish midfielder Karadeniz Gokdeniz netted the hosts' winning goal with seven minutes to go following a CSKA mix-up in defence to record Rubin season's first win.

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