GENERICO.ruSportInternational master class from the champion: Zenit won the tournament in Qatar

International master class from the champion: Zenit won the tournament in Qatar

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St. Petersburg “Zenit” became the first winner of the friendly tournament “Equality Cup” organized by it in Qatar. . In the final match, the blue-white-blues defeated the Brazilian Santos (4:1).

South American team player Rodrigo Cesar was the only one who managed to score against Zenit. In two other matches of the Equality Cup, which was held with the support of Winline, the St. Petersburg team beat the Qatari “Al-Duhail” (2:0) and the Chinese “Shanghai Shenhua” (6:0), which is led by the former head coach of the Russian national team Leonid Slutsky. Zenit's top scorer in this tournament was Mateo Cassierra (3 goals). It is also worth noting the newcomer of the “blue-white-blue” Pedro, who scored twice in three games.

The game against Santos was the final one at the second training camp for Zenit. After several days of pause, all players received playing time with the exception of Strahini Erakovic, who received a slight injury. The second half of this meeting largely gave an idea of ​​how head coach Sergei Semak sees the starting lineup at the moment. The day before, goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov received just over an hour of playing time. With a high degree of probability, the 37-year-old goalkeeper will be the first number of the “blue-white-blue” in the second part of the season.

As for the playing scheme, at the training camp Semak plays a 4-3-3 formation. At the moment, the optimal back four is Mario Fernandez, Nino, Nuraly Alip and Douglas Santos, the three Vilmar Barrios, Wendel and Claudinho are in the center of the field, and Pedro, Mateo Cassierra and Arthur act in attack. A large number of foreign names should not confuse those who remembered the limit on foreign players, since Zenit fits into it. And if everything is clear with Kerzhakov, then it is worth recalling that Fernandez is a citizen of the Russian Federation and played for the national team at the home world championship, and Alip, as a citizen of Kazakhstan, is not considered a foreign player. In addition, Claudinho has a passport as a Russian citizen.

The Equality Cup is awaiting expansion
The first ever Equality Cup has just ended, but already Preparations for the new tournament will begin next week.

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“There is already talk about having not four teams, but six or eight. This will mean that there will be local derbies. I think there will be two Russian teams. There will also be teams from neighboring countries, the BRICS countries. We will start doing this in a week , so that no later than the end of March – beginning of April, the composition of the participants would have already been determined,” the chairman of the board of Zenit, Alexander Medvedev, told reporters.

“I talked with all the colleagues who came to the this tournament. Both from a sports and managerial point of view, the tournament went well,” emphasized the chairman of the board of Zenit.

Santos could become one of the clubs that will fly to Qatar for the second Equality Cup. At least, as stated by the vice-president of the Brazilian team, Fernando Bonavides, an invitation from Medvedev has already been received.

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“It is important for us to be here, to have the opportunity to represent Santos at the international level. We see the level of other teams, everyone at the Equality Cup is very high. Such a tournament helps the development of players and football at the international level. At this tournament we can compare our level with other clubs, learn from other teams. It is also an opportunity for our players to show themselves at the international level,” he noted.

There weren't very many fans at the tournament. Especially if you look at the attendance at games of foreign teams. Only small groups of fans from Russia, China and Brazil made it to Doha. “The only drawback is that there were not enough fans, but this is due to the holding of the Asian Cup (on February 10 the final of the tournament took place, which was attended by almost 86.5 thousand spectators – ed.),” Medvedev admitted.

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At the same time, fans who reached Doha came to the games wearing club paraphernalia and actively supported their teams. Local children, saturated with the spirit of the World Cup and the Asian Cup, watched with interest the games of foreign teams, actively chanting the names of the players they especially liked.

What next?
After the match against Santos “, which took place on February 13, Zenit players received several days of rest. The blue-white-sky blues will hold their third training camp in Abu Dhabi. As part of the final stage of preparation for the resumption of the Russian Championship, the St. Petersburg team has three friendly matches planned. It will become known later which teams Semak’s team will meet.

Zenit will play the first official match in 2024 on March 2. In the 19th round of the RPL, the “blue-white-sky blues” in St. Petersburg will meet with Moscow “Spartak”.

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