Hulk was one of Zenit's few on-form players as the Saint Petersburg side struggled to a 1-0 home win over Krylia Sovetov Samara.
Zenit had a flurry of early chances as they looked to stamp their dominance on a seemingly easy match against the perennial relegation candidates, but only managed to take the lead through a dubious penalty in the 14th minute. Hulk seemed to go down just inside the box with minimal contact, but the match official gave the penalty and the Brazilian converted low and to his right. Krylia however, were not deterred by the goal and pushed on, maintaining a fair share of possession for the rest of the half. Zenit's primary threat came from the right flank as Hulk and Aleksandr Anyukov combined well, but the left side looked vulnerable yet again as the hosts struggled with the absence of Domenico Criscito, Nicolas Lombaerts and Tomas Hubocan, being forced to field new signing, Mian Rodic, at left back. Zenit saw one last chance in the first period, when Aleksandr Kerzhakov sent a header straight at Sergei Veremko from two yards away, but the half finished without further incident.
The interval saw Vyacheslav Malafeev withdrawn from Zenit's lineup, although it is still unclear as to whether this was due to injury or some other factor. Krylia surprisingly managed several near-misses as Bruno Teles put a free kick on target before both Maksimov and Angbwa came close in the 68th minute. Another chance followed minutes later when Maksimov made an excellent challenge in Zenit's half before breaking through on goal, however Malafeev's replacement, Igor Baburin, closed down the striker brilliantly and prevented what seemed to be a certain goal. Rodic went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury late on and had to be replaced before Zenit finished out an ordinarily cagey match with another wasted chance from Kerzhakov.
Man of the Match: Hulk
Hulk built on his deadly partnership with Aleksandr Anyukov against Krylia. Although he appeared to go down easily to earn the penalty, he converted it well and was impressive throughout. The Brazilian was practically the only thing stopping Zenit from sinking to a bore draw or even a loss to the Samara side.