FC Kairat Almaty lead the Kazakhstan Championship by six points after two wins in four days took them clear of their rivals.
The key victory was Kairat's 2-1 home success against title challengers FC Irtysh Pavlodar on 17 October. They followed that with a routine 2-0 win against FC Ekibastuzets three days later, also at home, to establish a clear advantage at the top of the table with two rounds of matches remaining.
Race for second place
Irtysh, meanwhile, recovered from their weekend defeat to triumph 1-0 at FC Zhetysu Taldykorgan and move into second place above FC Tobol Kostanay. The latter club have lost form at the worst possible moment, dropping points in a 1-1 draw at FK Aktobe Lento before going down 4-1 at FK Atyrau.
While Kairat's ascendancy is no great surprise, their rivals have failed to apply sufficient pressure on them. When Kairat drew 0-0 at FC Ordabasy Shymkent on 27 September - a rare slip - Irtysh were held at home by FK Atyrau on the same day. Then, Tobol, who had been tipped for honours this season, claimed one point from a possible six to drop out of the top two.
Tobol will have a chance at least to put the championship champagne on ice when they host Kairat on 30 October, before the leaders' final match at FC Yesil Bogatyr Petropavlovsk on 2 November.
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