Kazan closing in on first title
Russian Premier League leaders Kazan took another step closer to a maiden championship title thanks to a 3-0 home win against Samara on Saturday. Kazan have 57 points from 26 matches and are 10 points ahead of second-placed CSKA Moscow, who have a game in hand. Moscow Dynamo are third on 44 points also with a game in hand.
Argentinian defender Christian Ansaldi gave Kazan a 34th-minute lead when he shrugged off the attentions of Samara defender Alexander Belozerov to score. Two minutes after the break Alexander Bukharov made it 2-0 from just inside the box after a one-two combination with Ecuadorian midfielder Christian Noboa. In the 66th minute, Noboa added the third with a precise 20-metre freekick. "It was a tough, very tough win," Kazan manager Kurban Berdyev said. "It was a hard start in the game. But everything ended well."
Nine-time champions Spartak Moscow recorded their 10th win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Grozny at Luzhniki. Striker Alexander Pavlenko opened the scoring for Spartak just before the break from the penalty spot after Grozny fullback Sergei Omelianchuk had fouled midfielder Ivan Saenko. Spartak striker Nikita Bazhenov scored 13 minutes after the interval sending the ball into the empty net after he outwitted Grozny goalkeeper Ilion Lika. Czech midfielder Radoslav Kovac scored the third three minutes later to make it 3-0 for Spartak. Vladimir Kuzmichev grabbed a consolation for Grozny with 15 minutes remaining.