Champions Spartak eye two more wins for record
MOSCOW: Newly-crowned champions Spartak Moscow want to win both their remaining matches to equal the Russian league record of 72 points which they themselves set in 1999.
Spartak top the league on 66 points, 10 points clear of city rivals CSKA with two matches to go.
Their manager Massimo Carrera said he was happy after winning the Russian title in his first season with the club adding he has set Spartak the task of banking three points in today’s match with Terek Grozny.
“Nothing has changed for me,” he said in an interview with Russian TV.
“Of course I’m proud of what we’ve done. But the championship is not over yet and we’re focused on the upcoming match. Spartak want to finish the season in winning style on 72 points. We want to win every encounter that we play.”
CSKA Moscow, who are in the race for a place in next season’s Champions League third qualifying round, will need to overcome Rubin Kazan, who have struggled this season from the start.
The Red Army side have a disastrous record in Kazan, where they have won only one of their last six matches.
But CSKA head coach Viktor Gancharenko said his team needed to show their top to finish runners-up regardless of the results of third-placed Zenit, who are just a point adrift.
“If we manage to keep on winning we shouldn’t care about Zenit’s results,” he told CSKA official site.
“CSKA have more points and naturally the better chance to finish second. But we need to keep full concentration in the season remainder.”
Zenit meanwhile will have to pass a tough test today when they take on fourth-placed Krasnodar, who also need points to secure their place in next season’s Europa League.
Forward Artem Dzyuba expressed disappointment with Zenit’s position adding that the team will continue battling for the Champions League spot while they still have even the slightest chance for a top-two finish.
“There’s only one goal for Zenit — it’s the title,” Zenit press service quoted Dzyuba as saying. “And it’s hard to find motivation after Spartak have already claimed the title.
“Even in the race for a place in the Champions League not everything depends upon us. But we need to win the remaining games and hope that CSKA will drop points. We have nowhere to retreat.” AFP