ST. PETERSBURG, October 20 (RIA Novosti)
Alexander Kerzhakov's first-half penalty gave champions Zenit St. Petersburg a nervy 1-0 win over FC Kuban in the Russian Premier League on Saturday.
It was only a second victory in five matches for Luciano Spalletti's side, who rise from fourth to joint second on 24 points with CSKA Moscow.
Kerzhakov scored on the stroke of half time, converting a penalty after Kuban's Spanish defender Angel Dealbert had handled in the box.
A yellow card for protesting sees Hulk banned for Zenit's next match, an away trip to Alania Vladikavkaz.
CSKA can pull to within two points of league leaders Anzhi Makhachkala by beating Rubin Kazan on Sunday.
Anzhi went five points clear earlier Saturday when Juan Manuel Insaurralde's injury-time own goal gifted Guus Hiddink's side a 2-1 win over 10-man Spartak Moscow.
Later Saturday, FC Krasnodar host Alania Vladikavkaz.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.