NICK LEYDEN - Monday, May 23, 2011
In only his second start of the season Eugene Starikov provided a game-winning performance, scoring one goal and creating another, as Tomsk defeated Zenit on Saturday.

After a strong 45 minute shift in last week's tie against Krasnodar, Starikov was in the starting lineup to take on the team that sent him to Siberia on loan.

The former Stetson University striker's performance will certainly have Zenit questioning their decision.

Starikov opened the scoring in 37th minute with an unstoppable header off a cross from fellow Zenit loanee, Maksim Kanunnikov.

After Zenit missed an opportunity to fully clear a Tomsk corner, Kanunnikov collected the ball on the right wing and drove towards the endline. He sent an inviting cross into the box, which Starikov met at the front edge of the six and flicked expertly into the back post side netting .

Aleksei Ionov leveled the score for the visitors just minutes later, but Starikov and crew would have the last laugh.

In the 52nd minute Starikov won another header from a corner kick, but his attempt was unable to make it through the tangle of players in front of the goal. The deflection, however, caromed directly back to his right foot and he struck a shot towards the corner that Viacheslav Malafeev was somehow able to parry.

The rebound fell at the feet of Pavel Golyshev, though, and he tucked home giving Tomsk their second lead of the game.

Starikov was replaced by Victor Stroev in the 76th minute and the hosts were able to hold the advantage until the final whistle, marking their seventh consecutive game without a loss.

Tomsk will next take the field when they visit Rubin Kazan on Friday.