Spartak took advantage of Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow dropping points to go eight points clear at the top of the table. Basement side Tom Tomsk earned a point against an out-of-sorts Rubin Kazan, while fellow strugglers Krylia Sovetov shared the spoils with Amkar Perm. FC Ural made it three wins on the spin with a 2-0 victory over FC Orenburg.
Ufa – Spartak Moscow 1-3
Spartak stamped their authority on the title race with a 3-1 win at Ufa.
Goals from Denis Glushakov and Quincy Promes put the league leaders in control but Ivan Oblyakov pulled a goal back for the hosts with five minutes to go. The victory was confirmed when Lorenzo Melgarejo netted in stoppage time.
Glushakov opened the scoring seven minutes before the break when he tapped in after Luiz Adriano’s cross was parried.
The Muscovites doubled their lead in the 55th minute when Promes converted Spartak’s first penalty of the season after Nikitin was penalised for handball.
Five minutes later it was Ufa’s turn to try from the penalty spot but Spartak goalkeeper Artyom Rebrov was equal to Kehinde Fatai’s attempt.
Oblyakov halved the deficit in the 85th minute but Melgarejo finished the game when he hammered home from close range after Promes’ driving run into the box.
Goalscorer Melgarejo said that the players would not allow themselves to lose focus: “It feels like the title is close and this is exactly why we are gearing up for every match as if it were a cup final. We cannot relax and we will not. I have played in different teams, everywhere had its situations and environments. But I can say that Spartak have the right spirit.”
He continued: “I am at the greatest club in Russia and together we are deciding an historical task. Step by step, I am moving closer to the ultimate goal. My main motivation is to become a champion with Spartak.”
Spartak manager Massimo Carrera was frustrated by the manner of which his side conceded. He said: “I was angry at the moment when the opposition scored because of our mistake. Today’s goal was similar to the one we conceded last Sunday. We relaxed for a couple of minutes and they scored against us. This must not happen.”
Ufa boss Sergei Semak felt that his side paid the price for defensive mistakes: “The first half was disjointed form us; we moved poorly from defence to attack, there were few link-ups and we even conceded an unnecessary goal. In the second half, we conceded from a penalty after our mistake. It was necessary to take risks. We tried to get back into the game but, unfortunately, it didn’t work out. It was an even game, in which both Spartak and we were able to score. They scored the third goal that decided everything.
Krylia Sovetov – Amkar Perm 2-2
Home manager Vadim Skripchenko: “It was an emotional game, combative. The first half was very intense. Playing at home, in front of our fans and sitting near the bottom of the table, we wanted to win and did a lot to get the victory.”
Amkar boss Gadzhi Gadzhiev: “At the end Krylya had us penned in. Botov had our most dangerous moment when he opened up on the right. Both teams can play better; a lot depends on the pitch. It is better to play on a quality, artificial pitch that a bad, natural one.”
Zenit St. Petersburg – Anzhi Makhachkala 1-1
Zenit boss Mircea Lucescu: “Unfortunately, now things don’t depend on us and we are depending on other matches and this is very sad. It is unfortunate that, as we enter the final stages of the season, we have a very large number of players on cards […] Naturally when we have so many cards, we had to protect ourselves so as not to miss the match with Spartak. To some extent this has unfortunately influenced today’s match.”
Anzhi manager Aleksandr Grigoryan: “It so happened that we helped Spartak; everything is good. Football, in general, can be about circumstances but today’s draw was fair.”
FC Krasnodar – CSKA Moscow 1-1
Home boss Igor Shalimov: “In the first half, we could not cope in in defence and were losing the CSKA players. After the break, we made the game even and created chances. If you were to speak about the game as a whole, the match was equal and the result justified.”
CSKA manager Viktor Goncharenko: “The next game (against Rostov) will be crucial. The second such moment will be our game with Spartak.”
Author: John Gorrod
I spent the 2015-16 academic year studying Russian at the Tver State University. One day, I visited the stadium of third-division Volga Tver and ended up helping the fans to paint the fences around the pitch. We became firm friends and they introduced me to the wonderful world of Russian football.