Islamic Republic of Iran striker Sardar Azmoun scored another brace for his new club as high-flying Zenit Saint Petersburg came from a goal down to beat Orenburg 3-1, maintaining a six-point lead in the Russian Premier League on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Azmoun, who joined Zenit from Rubin Kazan in February, also scored twice in their Europa League win over Fenerbahce and bagged a winner in the Russian league against Yekaterinburg.
The win keeps Zenit six points clear of defending champions Lokomotiv Moscow, who edged city rivals Dynamo 1-0 on Saturday.
Krasnodar, who thrashed Anzhi Makhachkala 5-0, sit third, also on 38 points.
Azmoun’s club form augurs well for Iran ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers which will kick off later this year.
Zenit dominated from the kick-off but midfielder Alexei Sutormin put Orenburg ahead in the 33rd minute when he scored off a left-wing cross by Sergei Terekhov.
Azmoun pulled Zenit level three minutes after the interval, redirecting a short cross by Yury Zhirkov into the net.
Ukrainian full-back Yaroslav Rakitskiy Rakitskiy had Zenit fans on their feet in the 81st minute when he put the hosts into the lead firing the ball home with a well-struck 22-yard free-kick.
Azmoun netted his second of the match with two minutes to go to secure Saint Petersburg side’s well-deserved win.
«In the first half our defence played extremely badly and we paid the price for it,» Zenit manager Sergei Semak said. «Luckily we played much better football after the break.»