Rubin Kazan retain title
© AFP

Defending champions Rubin Kazan retained the Russian Premier League title with a 0-0 draw at home to Zenit, after their closest pursuers Spartak Moscow lost 3-2 in their derby with CSKA Moscow.

Today's results left Rubin with 60 points from 29 matches, and an unassailable five-point lead over Spartak. Zenit and Lokomotiv Moscow share third place on 51 points.

Rubin and Zenit both went on the attack from the start, trying to expose their opponents' defensive frailties. After the break, the hosts added power and speed to their attack, but their visitors defended stoutly.

This year it was much harder to win the title than a year ago. We deservedly won the title. It's a big success for Kazan and for all of us.
Rubin Kazan captain Sergei Semak

However, Rubin were more than happy to take a point and clinch their second consecutive title. "This year it was much harder to win the title than a year ago," said captain Sergei Semak.

"It's a pity we did not score today but nevertheless we deservedly won the title. It's a big success for Kazan and for all of us."

Necid emerges a late hero
Meanwhile, nine-time champions Spartak Moscow failed to get the win they needed to keep their glory hopes alive. Valery Karpin's team got off to a perfect start, taking the lead in the seventh minute when Brazilian midfielder Alex scored from the spot after CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev fouled Welliton in the box.

CSKA poured into attack seeking an equaliser, and pulled level just before half-time through midfielder Alan Dzazgoyev, who scored from the rebound after his initial six-yard header from Milos Krasic's cross hit a defender.

Czech Republic forward Tomas Necid put CSKA into the lead three minutes after the interval, sending the ball home past goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanayev after Krasic's perceptive pass. Spartak levelled in the 64th minute through Welliton, who duly increased his lead atop of the scoring chart with his 21st of the season from close range.

But in the 88th minute, Necid netted his second of the match with a 23-metre thunderbolt, dashing Spartak title hopes.