Leaders Lokomotiv regroup after Amkar flop

Aleksandr Golovin, who scored CSKA's only goal at Arsenal in the Europa League, believes the club can still succeed in Europa and Russia
AFP

Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League table-toppers Lokomotiv Moscow hope to bounce back from last week’s 2-1 defeat to lowly Amkar Perm when they take on strugglers Rostov on Sunday.

Despite last weekend’s shock defeat the railway-backed side still have a two-point lead and a game in hand on second-placed Spartak, the reigning champions, while another Moscow side CSKA sit third, three points further back.

Lokomotiv head coach Yury Syomin said he believed that the match with 12-placed Rostov will unlikely be an easy outing for two-time former champions, who won their last title in 2004.

“In the match with Amkar we  produced a catalogue of errors,” he said after a defeat in the away match Lokomotiv were allowed to play at home because the pitch in Perm has been declared unplayable.

“We shouldn’t repeat that against Rostov. They’re dangerous as they have absolutely nothing to lose.”

Meanwhile, Spartak, who beat Samara 3-1 on Wednesday to advance to the Russian Cup semi-finals, visit lowly Anzhi Makhachkala, who are one point above the relegation zone.

“I was very pleased with my team’s performance at Samara,” Spartak manager Massimo Carrera said. “But there are six matches left in the championship and every one of them is like the final for us. And we need to win all of them if we want to retain the title.”

CSKA Moscow also hope to bounce back from Thursday’s 4-1 fiasco in the Europa League first-leg quarter-final with Arsenal, when they face city rivals Dynamo, also Sunday.

Dynamo, who returned the top flight this season,  have an edge in these Moscow derby clashes in the post-Soviet era, winning 19 to the Red Army side’s 18 victories with 16 ending in draws.

Midfielder Alexander Golovin, who scored CSKA’s only goal in London on Thursday, said he still believed in his team could advance in the Europa League, adding that he and his teammates need to show their best in the match with Dynamo to stay in the title race.

“I believe we have chances (in the Europa League) as Arsenal are the team that play football and allow their opponents to do the same,” Golovin told Russian TV. “But now we must focus completely on the match with Dynamo. We’re still in the race for the title and this game is very important for us.”

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday

SKA Khabarovsk v Amkar Perm (0800), Rubin Kazan v Akhmat Grozny (1100), Zenit St Petersburg v Krasnodar (1330), Arsenal Tula v Ufa (1600)

Sunday

Tosno v Ural Yekaterinburg (1100), Lokomotiv Moscow v Rostov (1330), Anzhi Makhachkala v Spartak Moscow (1600), 

Monday

CSKA Moscow v Dynamo Moscow (1630)

.