Zenit and CSKA look to extend winning ways in Russia

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 07, 2015, 16:12 PM IST
Zenit and CSKA look to extend winning ways in Russia

Reigning champions and Russian Premiership leaders Zenit St Petersburg are looking to extend their perfect start to the new season when they face minnows Ufa on Sunday.

But Andre Villas-Boas`s Zenit, who top the league on goal difference with nine points from three matches, are not taking 10th-placed Ufa lightly. 

"Last season we set Russia`s new record, winning eight matches out of eight from the start," the former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham manager Villas-Boas said.

"Now we have four out of four (including the Russian Supercup final) and I hope we will continue going this way. Of course at some point we will lose a game but we will do our best to put off this moment for as long as possible.

"I cannot guarantee that on Sunday we will definitely win but we`re expecting to extend our winning streak."

Meanwhile, last season`s runners-up CSKA Moscow, who have also bagged maximum points from three league matches, will need to turn their focus back to domestic action after a Champions League qualifying victory over Sparta Prague.

In Prague, the Red Army side battled back from two goals down to beat the Czech high-flyers 3-2 to make it into the Champions league qualifying play-offs.

"I`m very glad that my men showed strong character and skills to make it into the next round," coach Leonid Slutsky said.

"But we shouldn`t put ourselves in such a situation. I hope in the next matches we will be more careful to avoid such an arduous task."

Russia`s most successful club, Spartak Moscow, who share third spot with city rivals Lokomotiv, have a fair chance to claim all three points on Sunday when they face promoted Samara.

But Spartak manager Dmitry Alenichev, the only Russian to play in a Champions League-winning team, said his men were taking nothing for granted against Samara, who sit ninth with three points in as many games.

"This season we created a team with a new approach, that`s why we`re taking it one game at a time, that`s the only possible way for us now," Alenichev said.

"We`ve won our two last matches with a clean sheet and of course we`re all pleased about that.

"We`d like to continue to perform this way. But to do that we definitely need to boost our performance in attack. Hopefully our hard work in practice will pay off in the upcoming match."
Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Terek Grozny v Mordovia Saransk (1600)
Saturday

Ural Yekaterinburg v Lokomotiv Moscow (1400), Anzhi Makhachkala v Dynamo Moscow (1700)
Sunday

CSKA Moscow v Amkar Perm (1030), Ufa v Zenit St petersburg (1300), Samara v Spartak Moscow (1600)
Monday

Rubin Kazan v Rostov (1500), FC Krasnodar v Kuban Krasnodar 11715)