Moscow (AFP) – Russian league leaders Spartak Moscow visit Anzhi Makhachkala on Sunday, their Italian coach Massimo Carrera urging his side not to take their opponents lightly.
The nine-time former champions, who beat FC Krasnodar 2-0 in Carrera’s first match as Spartak’s official manager last week, are two points ahead of Amkar Perm and city rivals CSKA.
“We prepare for every match in the same way because we know that none of the Premier League matches are easy,” said Carrera.
“I expect a tough match on Sunday as Anzhi will definitely try to show their best in front of their home crowd, especially against the league leaders.”
Meanwhile, reigning champions CSKA will continue their title defence in a meeting with promoted Tomsk.
Leonid Slutsky, whose Red Army side have only scored three goals in four league matches this season, said he expected his team’s attack to be more efficient on Saturday.
“We still experience problems converting our chances into goals,” he said.
“We work a lot in practice but our attacking players are still not on the same page. Hopefully, we will manage to produce a breakthrough in the upcoming match.”
Amkar Perm, who beat Yekaterinburg 1-0 in the Urals region derby a week ago to go second, will have to overcome Zenit St Petersburg on Saturday to remain where they are.
Amkar manager Gadzhi Gadzhiev said: “Zenit will be the first difficult opponent for my team this season.
“After Hulk’s departure and (Miguel) Danny’s injury Zenit aren’t as strong as they were last season. But still they’re the most classy team in the league.
“Saturday’s match for us will be very important. Not only because of the result. It will show whether we’re able to oppose the league favourites with dignity.”
Zenit manager Mircea Lucescu added that he also expected a tough game.
“No doubt they will be motivated as every league’s team gear up for the match with Zenit. But if we manage to come into the match in the right mood everythng will be fine.”
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Samara v Ufa (1530)
Orenburg v Rubin Kazan (1000), Tomsk v CSKA Moscow (1230), Zenit St Petersburg v Amkar Perm (1500)
Ural Yekaterinburg v Arsenal Tula (1400), Terek Grozny v Rostov (1615), FC Krasnodar v Lokomotiv Moscow (1615), Anzhi Makhachkala v Spartak Moscow (1830)