Leaders Spartak regroup for Zenit after Ufa flop


Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League table-toppers Spartak Moscow hope to bounce back from last week’s 1-0 home defeat to minnows Ufa when they visit Zenit St Petersburg on Sunday.

Despite last weekend’s shock, Spartak still have a one-point lead at the top over second-placed reigning champions CSKA, while Zenit sit third, two points further back.

But a trip to Saint Petersburg will unlikely be an easy outing for the nine-time former champions, who won their last title in 2001.

Spartak manager Massimo Carrera refused to criticise his team for suffering their first loss of the season.

“It was a very difficult game as Ufa played a defensive style football,” he said. “We also had scoring chances and the result could have been different. But sometimes you lose when you don’t deserve a defeat. 

“I don’t have any reproaches for my men. They played with a good spirit and fought for the win up to the very end. Hopefully our efforts will be rewarded in the next match.”

Last weekend, Zenit gave up a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Anzhi Makhachkala but coach Mircea Lucescu insisted that slip-up is behind them.

CSKA will try to bounce back from their 1-0 Champions League home defeat at the hands of Tottenham when they visit last season’s runners-up Rostov, also on Sunday.

“We wanted to perform our top football in the match with Tottenham,” CSKA midfielder Zoran Tosic said. “Unfortunately we failed to achieve a positive result.

“But life goes on and now we must prepare for the match at Rostov the best possible way. Our main rivals (Spartak and Zenit) will clash head-to-head. I believe we can capitalize on that.”

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday

Tomsk v Ural Yeakaterinburg (0900), Samara v Anzhi Makhachkala (1130), Lokomotiv Moscow v Arsenal Tula (1400), Terek Grozny v Orenburg (1630)

Sunday

Ufa v Amkar Perm (1100), Zenit St Petersburg v Spartak Moscow (1330), Rostov v CSKA Moscow (1600), Krasnodar v Rubin Kazan (1600)

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