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Football: Spartak still winless this year in Russia

Spartak Moscow slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to Ural Yekaterinburg on Friday as the nine-time former Russian champions were left winless since the winter break. Spartak remained fifth with 41 points from 24 matches, seven behind league leaders and city rivals Lokomotiv, who take on Volga Nizhny Novgorod on Monday. Zenit St Petersburg, who play Rubin Kazan on Sunday, sit second on 47 points. Ural, who desperately need points to avoid relegation, went into a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute through defender Vladimir Khozin, who fired home with an eight-metre volley.

Football: CSKA boost title hopes with Zenit win

Reigning champions CSKA Moscow kept alive their title defence hopes with a 1-0 win at second-placed Zenit St Petersburg on Saturday. The fifth-placed Red Army side moved on to 37 points from 21 matches to stay six points behind leaders Lokomotiv Moscow, who face Amkar Perm on Sunday. Another Moscow club Dynamo drew 1-1 with Kuban Krasnodar to join city rivals Spartak in third spot with 39 points.

Football: Balde happy with his career in Kuban

Senegal international striker Ibrahima Balde, who is currently playing with Russian Premier League side Kuban Krasnodar told the press Monday that he has never faced any incidents of racism in Russia. He also added that he felt comfortable in Kranodar. "When I received a proposal to join Kuban everybody told me that Russia - it's mafia, racism at the stadiums and in the streets, vodka, severe frost and bears," Russian daily Sport Express quoted the 24-year-forward as saying.

Football: Lokomotiv steam ahead in Russia

Two-time former champions Lokomotiv Moscow went top of the Russian Premiership after a 3-1 win at Kuban Krasnodar under heavy rain on Monday. The railway-backed moved two points clear of second-placed Zenit St Petersburg -- held 1-1 at Terek Grozny the day before -- with just one match remaining before the winter break. Spartak Moscow, who beat Novgorod 6-1 on Sunday, are third a point further back.

Football: Tough tests ahead for Zenit and Lokomotiv

Table-toppers Zenit St Petersburg and Lokomotiv Moscow are both facing stern tests in this weekend's Russian Premier League action. Lokomotiv, who beat city rivals Dynamo 1-0 last week to join Zenit at the top, will travel on Monday to play Kuban Krasnodar, the railway-backed side previously coached by Leonid Kuchuk. Kuchuk said he expected a tough match against Kuban, but this, he added, would be no different to any other game. "We caught up with Zenit on top but the title race is currently in full swing," he said.

Football: Leaders Spartak face Rubin test

Russian Premier League table-toppers Spartak Moscow will have to pass a serious test of their title credentials as they take on two-time champions Rubin Kazan on Sunday. Spartak, who are in the hunt for their 10th national title, will still be without their Ukrainian international 'keeper Andrei Dykan and Brazilian midfielder Romulo, who are both injured. "We are preparing for a serious battle," Spartak manager Valery Karpin said.

Football: Leaders Spartak face test at Kuban

Russia's most decorated club and the current Premier League leaders Spartak Moscow face a tough test of their title credentials on Sunday when they travel to Kuban Krasnodar. Nine-time champions Spartak have been resurgent in the early stages of the new season after a disappointing 2012-2013, taking a crucial advantage over pre-season favourites Anzhi, who are floundering in the bottom half of the table. Spartak come into the match without their first-choice Ukrainian goalkeeper Andrei Dykan, defender Sergei Bryzgalov and Brazilian midfielder Romulo.

Football: CSKA and Anzhi seek to shrug off surprise departures

Russian champions CSKA Moscow this weekend clash with city rivals Lokomotiv after the surprise departure of Brazilian forward Vagner Love to China, as big-spending Anzhi seek to overcome the equally unexpected exit of Dutch manager Guus Hiddink. The Red Army side's attacking potential suffered a serious blow when the charismatic Vagner left the Moscow club for Chinese top flight side Shandong Luneng Taisan.

Football: Kuban and Lokomotiv win on the road

Two-time Russian champions Lokomotiv Moscow and Kuban Krasnodar both clinched narrow away wins on Saturday to join Dynamo Moscow on top of the Russian Premier League table all on four points. Kuban started their match at Tomsk in lively fashion and took the lead in the sixth minute on a rapid counter-attack through Senegalese forward Ibrahima Balde, who scored from just inside the box. Kuban Dutch midfielder Aras Ozbiliz added a second seven minutes later, firing home from just inside the area.

Football: Spartak and Kuban both draw to remain fourth

Russia's most decorated club Spartak Moscow and Kuban Krasnodar, who share fourth spot, failed to close the gap on the third-placed reigning champions Zenit Saint-Petersburg as they were both held to draws on Saturday. Spartak battled to a 0-0 draw at home against city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow, while Kuban saved the day against visitors Dynamo Moscow as they clinched a 1-1 draw. Spartak and Kuban remain fourth on 36 points, two points behind Zenit, who take on minnows Saransk on Sunday.
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