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    Honda Stars as CSKA Beat Zenit 3-0 for Russian Super Cup

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    Russian Premier League champions CSKA Moscow won the 2013-14 season-opening Russian Super Cup on Saturday, beating Zenit St. Petersburg 3-0 on a stellar performance from Keisuke Honda.

    ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia, July 13 (R-Sport) - Russian Premier League champions CSKA Moscow won the 2013-14 season-opening Russian Super Cup on Saturday, beating Zenit St. Petersburg 3-0 on a stellar performance from Keisuke Honda.

    Two goals from AC Milan target Honda and one from Sergei Ignashevich brought the Army side their fifth Super Cup since its inception in 2003.

    Miguel Danny missed Zenit's best chance, shooting into the side netting midway through the second half, and Vagner Love hit the woodwork late on for CSKA.

    New Zenit signings Andrei Arshavin and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, rejoining their old side after spells with Arsenal and Bayern Munich, respectively, started the game but were quiet.

    The game, pitting last season's league winners against the Cup champions, precedes the start of the new Russian Premier League season Sunday.

    CSKA did the double last term so the second slot for the game in Rostov-on-Don went to league runners-up Zenit.

    The Russians are thought to be awaiting a worthy offer from AC Milan for 27-year-old Honda, with the player already having reportedly agreed a to a four-year deal.

    Honda’s contract is up in December, and CSKA have said they are prepared to let him leave on a free transfer in the winter if the money for a summer deal is insufficient.

    He put CSKA ahead after 15 minutes, sending an arrow into the corner after Zenit's defense backed off.

    The lead was doubled 20 minutes later by defender Sergei Ignashevich, who lashed home after an Alan Dzagoev free kick rebounded to him in the box.

    Honda sidefooted his second and his team's third on 83 minutes to make sure of the result and surely bring a move to the Italian giants a step closer to materializing.

    An early spin and shot from Zenit's Alexander Kerzhakov gave a false picture of the way the game would pan out as Honda responded instantly by forcing a save out of Zenit's 23-year-old debutant stopper Yury Lodygin at the other end.

    Lodygin unconvincingly deflected away Pontus Wernbloom's effort moments later, but he did well to hold Vagner Love's flick. Ignashevich had a glancing header saved by the feet of Lodygin before Zenit began to get a foothold in the game.

    Then Kerzhakov broke clear of the back four twice, but hesitated the first time and swung at fresh air the second; and Axel Witsel tried an audacious overhead kick but the Belgian's strike canoned off Ignashevich and away to safety.

    Luciano Spalletti's 2012-13 runners-up paid for those missed chances as defender Luis Neto needlessly brought down Ahmed Musa on a CSKA break, leading to the free kick from which the second goal came.

    CSKA should have been three up before the break but Musa stumbled when played clear by Swiss midfielder Steven Zuber, the club's new signing from FC Grasshopper.

    Arshavin fired a mis-hit volley wide to open the second half but again CSKA regained control and began to dictate the play. A rare Zenit chance was wasted midway through the half as an off-balance Miguel Danny lashed into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

    Igor Akinfeev in the CSKA goal had saved a one-on-one against his international teammate Viktor Fayzulin, who had replaced Arshavin on 55 minutes, in the build-up.

    But before Zenit could bulid up any momentum CSKA hit the crossbar through Vagner Love. The Brazilian burst clear, rounded Lodygin and volleyed into the ground, only to see the ball bounce too high and clatter against the woodwork.

    Another fast break saw Honda get on the end of a lightning-fast combination play involving Kirill Nababkin and Alan Dzagoev, with the Japan star coolly curling the ball into the far corner to cap a commanding display.

    To their credit, Zenit fought it out until the end and even had the ball in the next through substitute Alexander Bukharov, but the goal was ruled offside.

    Tags:
    Russian Super Cup, football, Zenit, CSKA, Alexander Bukharov, Alan Dzagoev, Vagner Love, Viktor Fayzulin, Igor Akinfeev, Danny, Ahmed Musa, Alexander Kerzhakov, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Andrei Arshavin, Sergei Ignashevich, Keisuke Honda
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