Vil­las-Boas bullish as cham­pi­ons Zenit tackle Terek

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Reign­ing cham­pi­ons Zenit Saint Peters­burg aim to ex­tend their per­fect start to the new sea­son when they face Terek Grozny in the Rus­sian Premier League on Satur­day.

An­dre Vil­las-Boas’ Zenit share the lead in the Premier­ship with two Moscow sides, last sea­son’s run­ners-up CSKA and Loko­mo­tiv, who all go into week three with a max­i­mum six points.

Terek have won the last two meet­ings be­tween the teams at Saint Peters­burg’s Petro­vsky sta­dium but Vil­las-Boas is con­fi­dent his play­ers can turn the ta­bles this time round.

“We had a great match at Yeka­ter­in­burg a week ago,” the for­mer Porto, Chelsea and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager said.

“The whole team moved in­cred- ibly from the points of view of tac­tics and phys­i­cal con­di­tion. We’re get­ting bet­ter from match to match.

“The up­com­ing meet­ing with Terek is no less im­por­tant for us as we have a chance to ex­tend our lead in the league.

“Our fans are happy: we have earned the ti­tle and lead the league right now. But we all should keep work­ing hard to main­tain the sta­tus quo.”

Mean­while, for­mer two- time cham­pi­ons Loko­mo­tiv Moscow face a tough ex­am­i­na­tion of their am­bi­tions on Sun­day when they face city ri­vals Dy­namo.

The side, backed by Rus­sia’s vast state rail­way, have 22 wins in this derby to their name against 14 for Dy­namo since the end of the USSR.

“We’ve made a good start to the sea­son but the derby clash is a very spe­cial case,” Loko­mo­tiv man­ager Igor Cherevchenko said.

“I ex­pect a tough match against Dy­namo, who with­out doubt want to im­prove their po­si­tion in the ta­ble.

“I be­lieve in my team’s chances. Loko­mo­tiv to­day is just like fam­ily with one for all and all for one. I ex­pect an in­ter­est­ing game on Sun­day.”

Dy­namo, who have started the sea­son miss­ing a num­ber of in­jured play­ers, in­clud­ing Con­golese and Brazil­ian full backs Christo­pher Samba and Dou­glas, have failed to chalk up a win so far.

“The in­juries and the red card to To­mas Hubo­can in the sea­sonopener forced us to ro­tate the most dan­ger­ous zone — de­fense,” Dy- namo head coach An­drei Ko­belev said.

“We des­per­ately need to sta­bi­lize our line-up as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Last sea­son’s run­ners-up CSKA Moscow will turn their fo­cus back to do­mes­tic ac­tion as they face pro­moted Anzhi Makhachkala on Satur­day af­ter a draw mid­week in their Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing match with Czech high-fly­ers Sparta Prague.

The Red Army side took the lead twice in the home tie but failed to cling onto the lead as Sparta lev­eled twice to earn a 2-2 draw.

CSKA man­ager Leonid Slut­sky was up­set both with the re­sult and his team’s per­for­mance against the Czech out­fit.

“It was a match of missed op­por­tu­ni­ties for us,” he said.

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