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  Monday, October 26, 2020
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UEFA Cup holders Zenit St. Petersburg face Luch Energiya in Vladivostok
UEFA Cup holders Zenit St. Petersburg face Luch Energiya in Vladivostok on Wednesday in a match that the side's Dutch trainer Dick Advocaat has described as vital to the team's chances of regaining its Premier League title.

Vladivostok is over 6,500 km (4,040 miles) from St. Petersburg, and seven hours ahead of Russia's northern capital. The flight between the two cities lasts eight hours, making the game the furthest away fixture in world soccer.

Advocaat said before the trip that his side would "live St. Petersburg time" for the duration of the trip, a policy which has seen them win their last two away games in Vladivostok. Luch Energiya were promoted to the Premier League in 2006.

Zenit are currently in 11th place in the Premier League. The Russian soccer authorities postponed a number of the side's matches before their UEFA Cup final against Glasgow Rangers in May, leaving them with a substantial fixture backlog.

Questioned on Monday as to whether he would be taking part in the match, Euro 2008 star Andrei Arshavin, still the subject of transfer rumors despite Zenit turning down bids from Barcelona and an unnamed English club, replied, "Of course. It's my job."

One dedicated Zenit fan is reported to have made the journey to Russia's Far East by using a combination of trains and hitchhiking some of the way. The supporter, named only as Ivan on the Zenit fan club website, is reported to have spent 19 days traveling to the game.


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