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Mancini’s Zenit Look To Extend Lead As Russian League Returns

Zenit St Petersburg's coach Roberto Mancini looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group L football match between FK Vardar and Zenit Saint-Petersburg at the Filip II Arena in Skopje on September 14, 2017. PHOTO/AFP
Zenit St Petersburg's coach Roberto Mancini looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group L football match between FK Vardar and Zenit Saint-Petersburg at the Filip II Arena in Skopje on September 14, 2017. PHOTO/AFP

MOSCOW, Russia- Russian league leaders FC Zenit Saint Petersburg switch their focus back to domestic action on Monday when Roberto Mancini’s side face Ufa just days after thrashing Vardar in the Europa League.

Zenit, who whitewashed the Macedonian minnows 5-0 in Skopje on Thursday, have a one-point lead over Lokomotiv Moscow at the top of the Russian league.

Lokomotiv had a less successful foray into the Europa League, playing out a goalless draw in Copenhagen.

Zenit striker Alexander Kokorin, who tops the league scorers’ chart with six goals, said his team needed a victory after the potentially damaging loss of points in two draws with FC Rostov and FC Dynamo.

“We understand that the points losses in our two previous league matches may cost us the title,” Kokorin told Zenit’s official site.

“These draws are just like defeats for us. We hope to draw the right conclusions from these past games to win the upcoming encounter.”

Better quality

Reigning champions FC Spartak Moscow, who drew 1-1 in their Champions League campaign-opener with Slovenian club Maribor this week, are favourites to take full points in Sunday’s meeting with promoted Tosno.

Spartak manager Massimo Carrera said: “I’m pleased with the results in our last matches but I’d like to see better quality football as we have been making too many own mistakes.

“We played well at Maribor but failed to score more than once there,” the Italian said.

“My team fight for the win in our every single match. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes not. Hopefully we will perform better in the next game. We really need to win on Sunday.”

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