Emotional Dzyuba overcomes 'masturbation video' scandal, missed penalty & obscene fan chants to score as Zenit beat Krasnodar
The Zenit and Russia skipper became the center of attention in his homeland for all the wrong reasons on Saturday night after a video leaked in which he was seen pleasuring himself while lying in bed.
After being removed from the Russia squad for three upcoming games in the wake of the scandal, all eyes were on St Petersburg and whether Dzyuba would feature for Russian champions Zenit in their crunch clash with Krasnodar.Also on rt.com Russia and Zenit captain Artem Dzyuba goes viral for all wrong reasons after 'masturbation video' appears online
In the event, the 6ft 4in target man made the teamsheet but was stripped of the captaincy, which instead went to Dejan Lovren – the club's summer arrival from Liverpool.
Facing obscene chants from sections of the Zenit crowd, it appeared as if Dzyuba's nightmare weekend would continue when he missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time with a tame effort into the hands of Krasnodar keeper Matvei Safonov, after the visitors had taken the lead when Swedish forward Marcus Berg made no mistake with his spot-kick in the 15th minute.
As if his weekend couldn't get any worse, Artem Dzyuba's just missed a penalty pic.twitter.com/hqITiZOZp2— Liam Tyler (@tyler_lj) November 8, 2020
But after Daler Kuzyaev leveled for Zenit on 64 minutes, Dzyuba was not to be denied, putting his team in front with just over 10 minutes to play by poking home a cross from fellow Russia international Magomed Ozdoev.
Dzyuba celebrated wildly, blowing kisses to the crowd before heading to the Zenit bench and being mobbed.
The hosts capped a 3-1 win in injury time when Alexey Sutormin scored after an emotional week of his own, bursting into tears and with it later being revealed that his father had died the day prior to the match.
Dzyuba did not appear to salute Zenit fans along with his teammates after the game, put did front up for a TV interview in which he said he would hand his Man of the Match award to Sutormin, while Zenit – who are chasing a third Russian Premier League title on the spin – moved up to second in the table, one point behind CSKA Moscow.
Dzyuba also later posted a video message on his Instagram account in which he thanked his fans and those close to him for their support, also saying that fate had taught him "a harsh lesson" but that he "had himself to blame."
An emotional Artem Dzyuba addresses fans: ‘Like any person, I’m not ideal. I make mistakes like everyone… I appreciate the people who are with me in tough times… This is my path, it’s not easy. I hope I can be a good person… I tried not to break today, but it was tough.' https://t.co/3ygnwdZ3tY— Liam Tyler (@tyler_lj) November 8, 2020
Dzyuba will now have a welcome two-week break as the Russia squad convene without him for a friendly in Chisinau against Moldova on Thursday and then trips to Turkey and Serbia in the UEFA Nations League.
Earlier on Sunday, Russia manager Stanislav Cherchesov had explained Dzyuba would be dropped from the squad "to protect both the team and the player from excessive negativity and tension.
"Artem will have time to normalize the situation. I hope that this topic will no longer be raised during the team's work at this training camp," added Cherchesov.Also on rt.com Russia captain Artem Dzyuba DROPPED from squad after X-rated video leaked online
Reports on Russian Telegram channel Baza stated that Dzyuba had in any case been braced for the intimate clip to be leaked, after his phone was hacked several weeks ago.
One of the best-known footballers in his homeland, Dzyuba became a bona fide national hero during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, scoring three times during the team's unlikely run to the quarterfinals and being seen as leader for the team.
He was handed the captain's armband by Cherchesov after the tournament, and has struck 26 goals in 47 games in national team colors.