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Lokomotiv end winless streak with two late goals


Moscow (AFP) – Champions Lokomotiv Moscow scored twice in the last nine minutes to beat visiting Akhmat Grozny 2-0 on Saturday and end a winless streak which had dropped them into the bottom half of the Russian Premier League.

The goals by Portuguese midfielder Manuel Fernandes, after 81 minutes, and forward Rifat Zhemaletdinov, in added time, gave Lokomotiv a morale-boosting win ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with German Bundesliga side Schalke 04.

While Lokomotiv beat second-tier Balktika Kaliningrad in the Russian Cup in midweek, the previous four matches had brought a draw and two defeats in the league and a loss in the Champions League.

Saturday’s victory lifted the Muscovites to sixth, but they are still 10 points behind league leaders Zenit St Petersburg, who visit lowly Anzhi Makhachkala on Sunday.

“Today we’ve played well-balanced football both in defence and in attack,” Lokomotiv boss Yury Syomin said. “We’ve exerted tough pressure on Akhmat and it paid off in the late stages.”

“Hopefully this win will help us to prepare for the Champions League match with Schalke.”

Lokomotiv started in a lively fashion, pinning the visitors back but they created few clear chances as Akhmat defended stoutly.

The pattern continued in the second half with Lokomotiv missing the cutting edge normally provided by Russian international forward Fyodor Smolov, who injured a shoulder against Baltika on Wednesday.

The hosts’ persistence paid off with nine minutes remaining as Fernandes netted a rebound after Akhmat goalkeeper Yevgeny Gorodov saved Eder’s close-range attempt.

Second-half substitute striker Zhemaletdinov added his goal in injury time.

In the other Saturday games, Ural Yekaterinburg battled back from a goal down to beat the visiting Arsenal Tula 2-1 courtesy of a brace by forward Andrei Panyukov. 

Ufa beat Yenisei Krasnoyarsk 2-1 in a battle of the two teams that started the weekend at the foot of the table.

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