Russian Premier League
Table-toppers Zenit St Petersburg are looking to tighten their grip Russian Premier League title on Wednesday when they play hosts to lowly Dynamo Moscow.
Zenit, in the hunt for their first domestic title in four years, are hoping to consolidate their eight-point lead over second-placed reigning champions Lokomotiv Moscow.
Krasnodar, who suffered a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Zenit last week, sit third, one point further back.
Though Dynamo have been in a battle all season to avoid relegation, Zenit manager Sergei Semak warned his men not to take the 12th-placed strugglers lightly.
“We need to prepare for the next match in all seriousness as Dynamo defeated us in our last league meeting in October. We need to play at our best if we want to avoid point loss,” he said.
Semak also expressed hope that Artem Dzyuba, who netted twice in Krasnodar to end his 1369-minute scoring drought in the Premier League, will be equally deadly on Wednesday.
Lokomotiv meanwhile desperately need to win in Rostov to keep alive their slim hopes of retaining the title.
Lokomotiv’s Yury Syomin said he was happy with his team’s performance in the 1-1 derby draw with CSKA last week adding however he was upset with the result.
“We’ve played well and dominated the major part of the match with CSKA,” he said. “But CSKA are one of Russia’s top clubs. They’ve beat Real Madrid twice in the Champions League this season.
“I expect my men will show the same quality football in Rostov. We have no right to lose points any more if we want to stay in the title race.”
Despite the weekend defeat Krasnodar have a one-point lead over fourth-placed CSKA Moscow in their race for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Ahead of the visit to Grozny, Krasnodar boss Murad Musaev told his squad to put the slip-up behind them.
“We’ve played a bit risky against Zenit. We wanted to win but they made us pay for carelessness,” he said.
“We need to focus on the match at Grozny. Now our hopes to claim the title look unrealistic but we still have chances to earn a Champions League place for the first time ever. The win over Akhmat will boost our chances a great deal.”
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Rostov v Lokomotiv Moscow (1600), Akhmat Grozny v Krasnodar (1600), Rubin Kazan v Ufa (1630), CSKA Moscow v Anzhi Makhachkala (1630), Zenit St Petersburg v Dynamo Moscow (1800)
Yenisei Krasnoyarsk v Orenburg (1300), Samara v Ural Yekaterinburg (1530), Arsenal Tula v Spartak Moscow (1730)