Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League leaders CSKA Moscow hope to bounce back from Monday’s 4-1 defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in the domestic cup final when they host Terek Grozny on Saturday.
The Red Army side moved top of the table following a 3-0 win at Ural Yekaterinburg last week but are just two points ahead of second-placed Rostov with reigning champions Zenit in third, two points further back.
CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky said he had no complaints about his team’s defeat in the Russian Cup final, adding that his side desperately needed to boost their attacking performance.
“We paid the price in the final for making too many mistakes,” Slutsky said. “Besides, our Nigerian forward Samuel Olanare suffered a serious knee ligament injury and is out for the remainder of the season.
“The match against Terek will be very important. Their defence is playing really well this season and we will need to perform at our best in attack to achieve a positive result on Saturday. I expect a tough clash.”
Meanwhile, Zenit, fresh from a third Russian Cup triumph, will try to extend their wining run against bottom side Anzhi Makhachkala.
Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas said that after winning the pre-season Super Cup and the Russian Cup his team can now focus on retaining their domestic title.
“I’m very happy with the win and the trophy. This is what we play football for, to win things!” the former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur head coach said.
“This is our second trophy of the season and we’re really pleased with it. I think we can now go on and win the title.” lig
However, Zenit will have to make do without Portuguese skipper Danny for the final four matches of the campaign after he tore knee ligaments last month, also ruling him out of Euro 2016.
Rostov, who suffered an unexpected 2-1 defeat at Mordovia Saransk last week, will face another tough test on Friday, when they take on fifth-placed Lokomotiv Moscow.
Rostov manager Kurban Berdyev was upset with the defeat at Saransk, and he expects the match against two-time former champions Lokomotiv to be a real examination of his side’s title credentials.
“It was a very annoying defeat,” said Berdyev, who led Rubin Kazan to back-to-back Russian titles in 2008-09. “I’d say we didn’t deserve it.
“But we need to draw conclusions from that defeat to prepare for the match with Lokomotiv in the best possible way.
“It will be a difficult game. Lokomotiv’s position in the leading group is deserved, they’re a very well-organised team and very dangerous opponents.”
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Samara v Ufa (1500), Rostov v Lokomotiv Moscow (1630)
CSKA Moscow v Terek Grozny (1130), Anzhi Makhachkala v Zenit St Petersburg, Kuban Kasnodar v Mordovia Saransk (both 1400), Rubin Kazan v FC Krasnodar (1630)
Amkar Perm v Ural Yekaterinburg (1130), Spartak Moscow v Dynamo Moscow (1630)
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