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Season review: Russia

Published: Tuesday 30 June 2015, 9.00CET
FC Zenit won a fourth league title with two games to spare while FC Lokomotiv Moskva came from behind to beat FC Kuban Krasnodar and lift the Russian Cup.
by Dmitri Rogovitski
from Moscow
Season review: Russia
Hulk enjoyed a fine campaign for Russian champions Zenit ©Getty Images

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Published: Tuesday 30 June 2015, 9.00CET

Season review: Russia

FC Zenit won a fourth league title with two games to spare while FC Lokomotiv Moskva came from behind to beat FC Kuban Krasnodar and lift the Russian Cup.

Champions: FC Zenit
Having finished runners-up in 2013 and 2014 behind PFC CSKA Moskva, FC Zenit finally secured a fourth Russian Premier League crown with two games to go – adding to their USSR championship in 1984. After bringing in Ezequiel Garay and Javi García, André Villas-Boas's charges surged into an early lead – winning their opening eight matches before eventually finishing seven points clear of the Army Men.

"We want to become champions again and succeed in the UEFA Champions League – reaching the quarter-finals is our aim," said Villas-Boas. "That's why we must become better and stronger." Portuguese playmaker Danny has already extended his contract, with the Zenitchiki determined to keep their stars in St Petersburg.

Cup final: FC Lokomotiv Moskva 3-1 FC Kuban Krasnodar (aet)
Lokomotiv came from behind to clinch their sixth Russian Cup after extra time in Astrakhan. Interim coach Igor Cherevchenko led his new side to their first silverware in eight years, ten days after replacing Miodrag Božović. Kuban, aiming for their first major trophy in what was their maiden final, scored in the first half through Vladislav Ignatyev before Baye Oumar Niasse's 73rd-minute equaliser forced extra time.

In the additional half-hour, Mbark Boussoufa and Aleksei Miranchuk hit the target to seal Lokomotiv's comeback success. "This was my first final as a coach so there was a lot of stress," said victorious coach Cherevchenko. "Thank God it didn't go to penalties."

European places
FC Zenit – UEFA Champions League group stage
PFC CSKA Moskva – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
FC Lokomotiv Moskva – UEFA Europa League group stage
FC Krasnodar – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FC Dinamo Moskva – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round

Player of the year: Hulk (FC Zenit)
The Brazilian international enjoyed a fine campaign for the Russian champions. The powerful forward – who plundered 15 goals and collected eight assists – registered when it mattered most to inspire Zenit to crucial victories en route to their first title since 2012. Team-mates Roman Eremenko and Garay also earn honourable mentions but the top scorer was the best player in Russia this term.

One to watch: Denis Davydov (FC Spartak Moskva)
Sixth-placed Spartak had a disappointing campaign yet fans of the Narodnaya Komanda (People's Club) can reflect on several positives: a brand-new stadium, the promise displayed by Quincy Promes, and Denis Davydov's breakthrough season. A product of the Spartak academy, the 20-year-old finally became a regular under Swiss coach Murat Yakin during 2014/15. Dubbed 'Our Messi' by club owner Leonid Fedun, the striker produced an array of mature displays before receiving his first international cap in March.

Leading scorer: Hulk (FC Zenit) – 15 goals

Relegated: FC Torpedo Moskva, FC Arsenal Tula

Promoted: PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara, FC Anji Makhachkala

Last updated: 15/04/19 0.15CET

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