Zenit forced to borrow players from Plovdiv

SOFIA - Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg have been forced to bolster their squad for a friendly against Sparta Prague in Spain by borrowing five players from Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv.

Zenit's Italian coach Luciano Spalletti approached Lokomotiv for help after more than a dozen of his players left the club's training camp for international duty, Bulgarian media reported.

The 2008 UEFA Cup winners received special permission from the organisers of the Marbella Cup to register Nenad Lukic, Martin Kavdanski, Plamen Krachunov, Dani Kiki and Dragi Kotsev for Tuesday's game against the Czech champions.

Big-spending Zenit, who are backed by Russian energy giant Gazprom, beat Lokomotiv 2-1 on Thursday in a previous match in the tournament.