CSKA’s title hopes fade in loss to Amkar in Russian league
MOSCOW (AP) — CSKA Moscow’s hopes of retaining the Russian Premier League title appeared all but over Monday after a 1-0 loss to lowly Amkar Perm.
The loss to the league’s bottom-placed team leaves CSKA third, 12 points behind leader Zenit St. Petersburg with seven games remaining and in danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Zenit’s 1-1 draw with Rubin Kazan on Sunday had given CSKA hope of closing the points gap, but Amkar’s Igor Kireev seized on a mix-up by the CSKA defense on 59 minutes to score the only goal of the game.
The loss is CSKA’s third in a row. Struggling Amkar claimed its first win in any competition since October, despite going into the CSKA game with just one goal from its last six games.
Zenit’s draw with Rubin preserved an unbeaten record that now stands at eight league games as Hulk’s penalty canceled out Elmir Nabiullin’s fourth-minute opener for Rubin.
FC Krasnodar, which holds the second of the two Champions League places, is eight points behind Zenit and four ahead of CSKA as it bids to qualify for Europe’s biggest competition for the first time.
Krasnodar beat city rival Kuban Krasnodar 3-2 on Saturday, boosted by a goal and an assist from Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov. On the back of four straight wins, Krasnodar travels to CSKA on Sunday for a potential Champions League qualification decider.
In other results, financially troubled FC Rostov escaped the relegation zone Monday, climbing to 12th with a surprise 2-1 win over seventh-place Spartak Moscow.
Another Moscow team stumbled, Lokomotiv Moscow losing 2-0 to Ural Yekaterinburg, while relegation threatened Torpedo Moscow drew 0-0 with Terek Grozny.
On Sunday, Dynamo Moscow saw off Mordovia Saransk 2-1 and Arsenal Tula beat FC Ufa 1-0 in a relegation dogfight.