ZENIT ST PETERSBURG supporters invaded the pitch and attacked Dynamo Moscow’s captain today as their side were headed for a shock home defeat in the crunch title game.
Andre Villas-Boas’s side were losing 4-2 in the 87th minute when St Petersburg fans launched their assault and forced the abandonment of the game.
One fan was seen to punch Dynamo skipper Vladimir Granat in the head. Granat was helped from the field in a daze. The Russian federation made no immediate comment on the troubles but Zenit now face an automatic 3-0 defeat and other sanctions.
“Everybody saw what have happened,” Dynamo manager Stanislav Cherchesov said. ”One of the local fans attacked Granat and hit him twice in the face.”
The Russian Premier League delegate said the Russian Football Union (RFU) disciplinary panel would meet this week. Last season Zenit were handed a 3-0 technical defeat at Dynamo after a firecracker thrown by Zenit fan injured Dynamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin.
Zenit were also sentenced to a 1.3-million-rouble ($35,000) fine and played two Premier League matches behind closed doors. Zenit finished second, two points behind champions CSKA Moscow.
This year’s title could again be decided by the punishment.
Villas Boas’s side had been undefeated in seven games going into the match and went one up after six minutes. Portuguese midfielder Miguel Danny fired in the rebound after Dynamo goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov deflected Salomon Rondon’s close-range shot.
Dynamo pulled level in the 35th minute. Artur Yusupov fired the ball in from just inside the penalty area with a help of a ricochet off Zenit Italian wingback Domenico Criscito.
In the 57th minute Argentinian back Leandro Fernandez put Dynamo ahead with a 12-metre header from a corner. Ecuadorian midfielder Christian Noboa made it 3-1 for Dynamo with another header eight minutes later.
German forward Kevin Kuranyi scored Dynamo’s fourth in the 71st minute while Russian internationanl Alexander Kerzhakov pulled one back for Zenit in the 84th minute.