Cham­pi­ons Spar­tak eye two more wins for record

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

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