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CSKA fighting two fronts in Russia

30 October 2015, 13:14

Moscow - Russian Premier League leaders CSKA Moscow go into their weekend tie against strugglers Ufa in confident mood after their midweek exploit in the Russian Cup.

The Red Army side beat Ural Yekaterinburg 2-1 in the last 16 round of the cup on Wednesday, and enjoy a cushion of six points on second-placed city rivals Lokomotiv in the league.

Reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg sit third two points further back.

CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky, who rotated many of his first-choice players in midweek, was delighted with his team's performance.

"It was a hard match as Ural looked very impressive in their recent matches," he said.

"I'm pleased both with the result and the quality of our play despite the serious rotation of the line-up.

"We were in control throughout the match and won deservedly. I hope our top players, who were rested, can perform at their best against Ufa on Saturday."

Also read: CSKA’s title ambition set for Terek test

Title holders Zenit, who beat second-division Tosno 5-0 in their own midweek cup tie, will try to narrow their gap on the league leaders in the match against another struggling outfit Mordovia Saransk.

Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas, who has finished serving a six-match touchline ban, said he has set his team the target not only of retaining the title, but of winning the double by adding the Russian cup as well.

"Our line-up was strong," he said.

"The result was important for us. The cup is a trophy we want to win.

"Our objective is to win the cup but the (Russian) title is our goal as well and I believe we will show out best against Mordovia."

Zenit's team doctor however said that Brazilian star Hulk, who picked up a minor leg injury in the cup match, will miss the game with Mordovia, adding that the Brazilian will likely be fit for next week's Champions League outing with Lyon.

Second-placed Lokomotiv, who crashed out of the national cup with a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Amkar Perm on Thursday, will try to bounce back from their failure when they visit Kuban Krasnodar, who are just two points above the relegation zone.

"Amkar were the better side and won deservedly," Lokomotiv manager Igor Cherevchenko said.

"We need to draw the right conclusions from this defeat and keep on moving ahead. It's pretty unpleasant to be out of the cup but this is not the end of the world."

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