Samuel Eto’o hit the target twice as big-spending Anzhi battled to a 5-2 home win over FC Krasnodar in the highest-scoring game of the Russian Premier League season so far.
Oleg Shatov, Joao Carlos and Mbark Boussoufa also scored for Anzhi, who saw a Christopher Samba strike disallowed and a strong penalty appeal turned down in an encouraging display ahead of their Europa League group stage debut against Udinese on Thursday.
Anzhi midfielder Lassana Diarra played 90 minutes on his debut since signing from Real Madrid, in which he was at the center of Anzhi’s passing moves but had a comparatively quiet game.
“I’m very happy with the power of the team, but we have to grow a little and not commit stupid errors,” Anzhi coach Guus Hiddink said.
“We started very good, within 17 minutes we had 3-0, but we got a little bit sloppy and sometimes overconfident.
Kransodar coach Slavoljub Muslin said that the match, which saw 32 shots from both teams, had turned into a contest of finishing skill.
“We didn’t convert our chances and our opponents scored almost all of theirs. I think we played well,” he said.
Shatov opened the scoring after just 38 seconds, picking up the ball on the left flank and cutting inside past defender Ognjen Vranjes before sending a hard shot past the motionless Nukri Revishvili in goal.
On four minutes, Brazilian defender Joao Carlos made it two, taking full advantage of lax marking by Krasnodar to ghost in at the near post and head the ball in from Boussoufa’s free kick.
Anzhi’s control was underlined when Eto’o scored his first on 14 minutes, cutting in from the right as defender Ruslan Nakhushev backed off and hitting the back of the net with a low shot that Revishvili could have done more to stop.
Krasnodar then flickered into life and grabbed one back through Portuguese forward Marcio after farcical scenes as first Krasnodar’s Joaozinho, then Anzhi’s stand-in goalkeeper Evgeny Pomazan fumbled the ball on the goal-line before Marcio eventually knocked it into the net off Pomazan’s arm.
Two minutes after the break, Boussoufa turned goalscorer, picking up the ball on the right flank and tricking the Krasnodar defense with a dummied cross before switching to his left foot and slicing the ball just to Revishvili’s left as the Georgian goalkeeper failed to move.
It was then Anzhi’s turn to display defensive frailty as Vranjes ghosted in at the far post on 52 minutes to make it 4-2 with his left foot, leaving Samba angry with the defense.
Eto’o compounded Krasnodar’s misery on 87 minutes and ensured a torrid day for Revishvili, who could only stand and stare as the Cameroon striker sent a looping header from the edge of the area over the onrushing goalkeeper off a lobbed pass.
In the second half, both teams had strong penalty appeals turned down, with Anzhi claiming a Krasnodar handball and the visitors appealing after Vladislav Ignatiev went down in the box.
Samba saw his strike disallowed in mysterious circumstances on 79 minutes when he lashed the ball into the with a volley at head height, with the referee appearing to consider his high kick dangerous play in a crowded penalty area.