Russian Premier League champions Zenit sealed the domestic double with a late win over underdogs Khimki in the Russian Cup Final on Saturday, only to drop the trophy within minutes of receiving it at the Ekaterinburg Arena.
Three weeks after wildly celebrating by dousing each other in champagne in their locker room after winning the Russian Premier League, Zenit tasted glory again with a late win over newly-promoted Khimki that sealed their first league and cup triumph in a season since 2010.
Players and staff including matchwinner and Russia captain Artem Dzyuba leapt on a podium under swirls of confetti as they enjoyed their narrow win, knocking off part of the gleaming silver trophy in an act of clumsiness that club captain and former Chelsea star Branislav Ivanovic might want to avoid watching again.
Russia midfielder Magomed Ozdoyev and former Ukraine defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy lifted the trophy to inspect its slightly disfigured state before Ozdoyev held the separated piece aloft, looked back at his teammates with a laugh and continued the party.
Some fans claimed that the design of the trophy was too delicate and compared it to a vase, while others claimed that CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow had also damaged trophies in previous years.
The mishap was not quite as disastrous as arguably the most fatal trophy drop of recent times, when Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos destroyed the Copa del Rey as it hurtled off the top of the Spanish giants’ victory parade bus in 2011.
That version of the trophy went on display at the Spanish Football Federation’s museum, but the Russian Football Union will be hoping their silverware can be salvaged for reuse in next year’s final.
Zenit had not won the Russian Cup for four years and needed an 84th-minute penalty from top scorer Dzyuba to see off Khimki, who will join them in the top flight after finishing second in the Russian First Division this season.
“Penalties are always unpleasant,” the 17-goal striker told Match TV, comparing his penalty to the one he took in Russia’s 2018 World Cup win on spot kicks against Spain, which he described as “really scary”.
“It’s crushing but you need to stay calm. Each penalty is special in its own way. I stick to my plan.”
Zenit General Director Alexander Medvedev refused to discuss 36-year-old Ivanovic’s future and the arrival of defender Dejan Lovren from Premier League champions Liverpool for around $13.8 million.
“We have only positive emotions after waiting 10 years to win the championship and the cup,” he insisted. “This does not happen often, especially at Zenit.
“The game was very difficult, Khimki…were very disciplined and played very selflessly. Zenit had much more chances and Khimki had no real chances.”