CSKA keep in touch at top in Russia

Moscow (AFP) – Brazilian striker Vitinho netted after just 32 seconds as reigning champions CSKA Moscow eased to a 4-0 win over bottom-placed Tomsk on Saturday to narrow the gap on Russian Premier League leaders Spartak Moscow. 

The Red Army side are now level on points with Zenit St Petersburg, who visit Amkar Perm on Sunday, and five points behind Spartak, who take on Anzhi Makhachkala also on Sunday.

“It’s a very important win for us,” said CSKA coach Viktor Goncharenko, who recorded his first victory at the helm since being appointed coach in December.

Vitinho fired past Tomsk’s 18-year-old goalkeeper Alexander Melikhov from close range and Alan Dzagoev doubled the lead in the 19th minute after Sergei Ignashevich had chipped a free-kick over the wall and into his path.

Alexei Ionov then added a brace to complete the rout.

Elsewhere, Ufa beat visitors Samara 1-0 courtesy of a goal by Croatian midfielder Ivan Paurevic to go fourth.

The club from the capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan chalked up their third consecutive win in all competitions under new coach Sergei Semak, who took over in December. 

“It was a hard-fought win,” said Semak, a former Russian international who once played for Paris Saint-Germain.

“We started well scoring an early goal but lost the initiative soon after that. We had chances to increase our lead late on but missed them all, so we still have plenty of work to do.”

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