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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spartak Beats Zenit 4-3 As Passions Run High

Russian champion Spartak Moscow came from behind twice to beat Zenit St. Petersburg 4-3 in a dramatic Premier League clash on Wednesday.

Spartak looked headed for its fifth defeat of the season after Andrei Arshavin made it 2-0 for Zenit with a great solo effort two minutes into the second half.

But Spartak battled back with a pair of goals six minutes apart from Russia striker Vladimir Beschastnykh, who has scored six goals in three games since returning from the World Cup.

Beschastnykh scored with a 53rd-minute penalty after a foul on Yegor Titov, then leveled with a low drive that deflected off a Zenit defender six minutes later.

Beschastnykh has now scored in four straight games, going back to Russia's 3-2 World Cup defeat by Belgium on June 14.

Zenit striker Alexander Kerzhakov made it 3-2 just a minute later. After notching his second of the match and his ninth of the season, the 19-year-old pointed to the Spartak bench in an apparent gesture of defiance directed at coach Oleg Romantsev.

Kerzhakov, who extended his scoring streak to five games, was upset at Romantsev for being kept on the bench for all but the last 10 minutes of Russia's World Cup campaign. Romantsev has since quit as Russia coach.

Kerzhakov's joy was short-lived, however, as Senegalese defender Ibra Kebe brought Spartak back once again with his first goal of the season in the 65th minute.

Eight minutes later, 18-year-old Russia striker Dmitry Sychyov beat Vyacheslav Malafeyev with a powerful blast into the top corner to settle the game in Spartak's favor.

It was Sychyov's ninth of the season, and he became the league's joint top scorer along with Kerzhakov. The only bad news for Spartak was an injury to Sychyov, who was carried off the pitch clutching his knee.

The win enabled Spartak to close the gap on city rival Lokomotiv to eight points with a game in hand.

Leader Lokomotiv has 34 points from 15 matches after being held to a 0-0 draw by CSKA in a Moscow derby on Tuesday. CSKA stayed in second on 29 points from 13 games.