Zenit ​St Petersburg look to extend winning ways in Russia

High-flying Zenit St Petersburg turn their focus back to domestic action and extending their perfect start to the season when they face struggling Rostov in the Russian Premier League on Saturday.

Zenit ​St Petersburg look to extend winning ways in Russia
Zenit coach Andre Villas-Boas, top left, from Portugal, watches his players during a training session.

Moscow: High-flying Zenit St Petersburg turn their focus back to domestic action and extending their perfect start to the season when they face struggling Rostov in the Russian Premier League on Saturday.

Andre Villas-Boas` Zenit, the only team to hold maximum points after seven matches with 21 goals in the process, come into their encounter at Rostov on the back of a confident start to their Champions League campaign.

Goals from Hulk and Axel Witsel gave the St Petersburg outfit a solid 2-0 win at Benfica on Tuesday to boost confidence ahead of the Rostov tie.

But former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham manager Villas-Boas said his men were taking nothing for granted against Rostov, who are sitting 13th with just four points and 22 goals conceded in seven games.

"We`ve made an excellent start in the Champions League," he said.

"But we shouldn`t forget about the domestic league. Now we need to show our best in Rostov to get three points there despite a busy schedule."

Reigning champions CSKA Moscow, who share second spot with city rivals Spartak and Dynamo and Kuban Krasnodar, will have to pass a tough test to their title hopes in a derby with Lokomotiv.

The Red Army side, who suffered a 5-1 defeat in the Champions League campaign-opener with AS Roma, look favourites against Lokomotiv despite being without key players -- Brazilian Vitinho, Swede Rasmus Elm and Latvia`s Aleksandrs Cauna.

Meanwhile, Lokomotiv, who have struggled from the season`s kick-off, will play without manager Leonid Kuchuk who was sacked this week.

Ninth-placed Lokomotiv, who crashed out of the Europa League following a 5-2 aggregate defeat at the hands of Cyprus Apollon outfit, have collected nine points in seven league matches this season.

CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky wants to restore his side`s shattered confidence. "We played timid football in Rome, it`s my fault," Slutsky said.

"I failed to prepare my players for a tough battle with Roma. But we shouldn`t repeat this mistake against Lokomotiv. The win in this derby may restore our self confidence. We`re in need of it." 

Dynamo Moscow, fresh from their 2-1 Europa League win against Greek side Panathinaikos, travel to promoted city rivals Torpedo on Sunday without French playmaker Mathieu Valbuena, who underwent appendectomy earlier this week and will miss at least two matches.
Fixtures 

Friday

Arsenal Tula v Mordovia Saransk
Saturday

Ufa v Ural Yekaterinburg, Rostov v Zenit St Petersburg, Kuban Krasnodar v Rubin Kazan, Spartak Moscow v Terek Grozny
Sunday

CSKA Moscow v Lokomotiv Moscow, Amkar Perm v FC Krasnodar, Torpedo Moscow v Dynamo Moscow

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