Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia gets more complicated

The mid-week catch-up matches in Russia made the race for UEFA Cup spots quite a bit more complicated.

Without fail, Lokomotiv Moscow defeated Shinnik Yaroslav 3-0 on the strength of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's brace. However it wasn't easy for Lokomotiv as Shinnik fought hard and it wasn't till twenty minutes remained that the Russian capped attacker opened the scoring. With Shinnik pouring forward to equalize Peter Odemwingie doubled the score with three minutes remaining only for Diniyar to add the third two minutes later.

However the big surprise of the day was once again Zenit Saint Petersburg's lack of conviction. In front of a disappointed crowd at Petrovski, Zenit played Saturn Moscow Oblast meekly to a 2-2 draw and put their UEFA Cup bid in serious jeopardy. Viktor Faitzulin got the home squad off right only eight minutes after the start but veteran Andrei Karyaka leveled the match two minutes later. Incredibly Saturn Moscow took the lead five minutes before the half with Marko Topić netting the lead goal. Fatih Tekke came to the rescue for Zenit to salvage a point with eight minutes remaining but it is anything but clearly sailing for the defending champions and they are locked in a tie with surging Spartak Moscow in the final spot for the UEFA Cup. To add to the suspense, these two giants face each other at Luzhniki on November 22.

With four weeks remaining on the books the title is Kurban Berdyev's Rubin Kazan and the race for the European spots are as follows:

Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia
Rubin Kazan 26 17 6 3 40 16 57
CSKA Moscow 26 14 8 4 45 21 50
Dynamo Moscow 26 12 8 6 35 28 44
Amkar Perm' 26 11 8 7 25 20 41
Zenit St Petersburg 26 10 10 6 53 34 40
Spartak Moscow 26 10 10 6 39 33 40
Lokomotiv Moscow 26 10 8 8 31 28 38
Samara Kryliya Sovetov 26 9 11 6 36 25 38