Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | ePaper

Russian leaders Zenit back to domestic action after Europa League draw

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AFP, Moscow :
Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St Petersburg have to turn their focus back to domestic action on Sunday when they face CSKA Moscow just days after a hard-fought Europa League game.
Zenit, who drew 1-1 with Bordeaux on Thursday to hold on to top spot in Group C, have a seven-point cushion at the top of the Russian league.
Snapping at their heels are reigning champions Lokomotiv Moscow, who tackle Rubin Kazan also Sunday. Krasnodar sit third, one point further back.
"A draw in Bordeaux is an acceptable result taking into consideration our busy schedule," Zenit manager Sergei Semak told his club's website.
"We need to battle hard for the every single point both in domestic competition and the Europa League. We do not expect gifts from any of our opponents.
"Now we need to switch our attention back to domestic affairs to maintain our lead in the Russian league. I expect a tough match on Sunday as CSKA will likely be at their best against the league leaders in front of their home crowd."
CSKA have had a day's more rest after a 2-1 defeat by Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.
"Zenit will have a day less recovery after their away Europa League match," CSKA head coach Viktor Gancharenko said.
"It seems to be a kind of advantage for us but we will need to perform at our best to convert it into the desired result. I expect a tough and interesting match on Sunday."
Reigning champions Lokomotiv, who were thrashed 4-1 at Porto in Tuesday's Champions League Group D match at Porto which effectively ended their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage, have to pick themselves up to meet two-time former champions Rubin Kazan.
They railway-backed side will try to chalk up their sixth consecutive Premier League win on Sunday to keep Zenit under pressure.
"In the Champions League the opponents never forgive your mistakes," Lokomotiv head coach Yury Syomin told Russian TV after the match at Porto.  "And we have been punished almost every time for every single error that we've made.
"We need to draw the right conclusions from this campaign, to learn from our mistakes not to repeat them in the future.
"Now we need to focus completely on the defence of our national title. The match at Kazan is very important for us in this respect."

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