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Zenit St. Petersburg appoints Sergei Semak to replace Roberto Mancini as coach

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Mancini: Accepting Italy job was an easy decision (0:55)

Roberto Mancini explains how much of an honour it is to be appointed the next manager of Italy. (0:55)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Zenit St. Petersburg has named Sergei Semak as its new coach after Roberto Mancini left to take charge of Italy.

Semak played in midfield for Zenit before retiring in 2013 and taking assistant coaching roles with Zenit and then the Russian national team. This season he led FC Ufa to sixth place in the Russian Premier League, the club's best-ever finish, one place behind Zenit.

The St. Petersburg club spent big last season on signing five Argentinian players including Leandro Paredes. However, Mancini's side finished fifth and missed out on Champions League qualification.

The 42-year-old Semak is popular with Zenit fans and is the club's first Russian coach since Anatoly Davydov spent two months in charge in 2009.