- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) - Reigning champion Zenit St. Petersburg started the new Russian Premier League season with a win, beating Dynamo Moscow 2-1 at home during an opening weekend when former Arsenal player Emmanuel Frimpong said he was the victim of racist abuse.

Zenit went behind to an Alexander Kokorin goal on 28 minutes on Sunday, but mounted a comeback after Dynamo defender Tomas Hubocan’s 42nd-minute red card for fouling Artyom Dzyuba in the box and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Hulk converted the resulting penalty to send Zenit into halftime on level terms. The Brazilian went on to set up Oleg Shatov for the winning goal on 68 minutes.

Zenit’s main title rival CSKA Moscow also started the season victoriously, beating Rubin Kazan 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a late goal from Ahmed Musa at the end of a well-played passing move.

However, there was also controversy at the weekend with Frimpong being sent off while playing for FC Ufa in a 2-2 draw with Spartak Moscow on Friday.

Frimpong was shown the red card for displaying an offensive gesture to the Spartak fans and afterward said he had been reacting to racist abuse. Afterward, he said on Twitter that he had been “racially abused for the game that I love.”

He added: “I’m going to serve a sentence for being abused … and yet we (are) going to hold a World Cup in this country.”

It is the latest in a string of similar incidents involving black players being punished for their reactions to racism in the 2018 World Cup host nation. Frimpong faces a ban of between two and four games.

Elsewhere, there was a 1-1 draw between FC Rostov and Terek Grozny on Saturday.

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