Leaders FC Lokomotiv Moskva took a crucial step towards the Russian Premier-Liga title today after holding defending champions FC Spartak Moskva to 1-1 draw.
Full steam ahead
The capital rivals are separated by five points with five games to go, but Lokomotiv have a match in hand while Spartak still face a tough encounter against PFC CSKA Moskva who are currently third.
All square in Moscow
Lokomotiv went ahead on 32 minutes through Brazilian Julio Cesar, who latched on to a pass from Dmitri Loskov to beat Stanislav Cherchesov in the Spartak goal. However, the visitors were level seven minutes later when Maxim Kalinichenko scored after a scramble in the box.
Spartak and Russia captain Yegor Titov, who had just returned from injury, limped off at the end of the first half and thereafter Spartak, who desperately needed a win, missed the necessary flair to overcome Lokomotiv. Indeed, the railway men could have claimed all three points, but Ruslan Pimenov wasted a great chance in injury time.
Elsewhere in Russia on Wednesday, CSKA were stunned by crosstown rivals FC Dinamo Moskva who claimed a 3-2 away success. Alexander Panov's strike and a Eugeni Kharlachev penalty gave Dinamo the early lead. Rolan Gusev pulled one back with a header, but Ognien Koroman's spot-kick sealed the victory for Viktor Prokopenko's men. Spartak Gogniev registered two minutes from time, but it was too late for CSKA whose title bid all but ended with this defeat.
Anzhi in trouble
Relegated FC Sokol Saratov surprised FC Anzhi Makhachkala with a 1-0 away victory which left Anzhi deep in relegation trouble. Ruslan Agalarov missed a penalty for Anzhi, while Alan Sakiev scored for Sokol.
Poskus clinches it
Elsewhere, FC Krylya Sovetov Samara held on to fourth place after beating their closest rivals FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast 1-0, courtesy of a Robertas Poskus effort. FC Shinnik Yaroslavl edged past FC Uralan Elista 1-0, while SC Rotor Volgograd played out a scoreless draw with FC Torpedo-ZIL Moskva. FC Rostselmash Rostov-Na-Donu drew 1-1 with FC Alania Vladikavkaz in another relegation scrap.
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