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03:50 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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Zenit Spat: Denisov, Kerzhakov Snubbed for Cup Clash

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Russia captain Igor Denisov and striker Alexander Kerzhakov remained out of Zenit St. Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti’s plans as they were left out of the side for a cup tie Tuesday.

Russia captain Igor Denisov and striker Alexander Kerzhakov remained out of Zenit St. Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti’s plans as they were left out of the side for a cup tie Tuesday.

Both players were sent to train with the reserves at the weekend after Denisov had allegedly issued a pay rise ulimatum.

Denisov had argued with Zenit management over the large salaries given to new signings Hulk and Axel Witsel, while the club said Kerzhakov was punished for unspecified “inappropriate behavior.”

For the cup game against Baltika Kaliningrad, Denisov was replaced in midfield by 18-year-old Alexei Evseev, who has only made one previous appearance for the club.

In attack, Hulk partners Alexander Bukharov, more typically found on the Zenit bench.

Between them, Kerzhakov, 29, and Denisov, 28, have made almost 500 appearances for Zenit since both broke into the first team in 2001.

Kerzhakov has 66 Russia caps, while Denisov has 32 and was made captain by new national team coach Fabio Capello last month.