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Football | Europe

Fedor Chalov © Gallo Images

CSKA close gap on Spartak



Champions CSKA Moscow chalked up a 2-0 win at Ufa on Friday to narrow the gap on leaders Spartak Moscow and keep alive their hopes of retaining the title.

Goals by Vitinho and Fedor Chalov and good goalkeeping by Igor Akinfeev set the Red Army side on their way to a confident win that left them seven points adrift of Spartak, who face Rostov Saturday.

Zenit St Petersburg, who take on Ural Yekaterinburg at their newly-built 68 000-seater stadium Saturday are third, four points further back.

"It was a deserved win for us," said CSKA manager Viktor Gancharenko.

"Ufa looked impressive in front of their supporters but our skipper and Akinfeev rescued us when we needed it."

CSKA started lively with Israeli international Bebars Natcho's powerful 22-yard shot testing Ufa goalkeeper Alexander Belenov after just 16 seconds.

Ufa replied with a rapid counter-attack in the second minute and CSKA goalie Akinfeev was shown a yellow card for a professional foul on Nigerian forward Kehinde Fatai.

Eight minutes after the interval Ufa were awarded a penalty after CSKA back Georgy Shchennikov brought down Dmitry Stotsky in the area but Akinfeev confidently parried Croat Ivan Paurevic's spotkick for a corner.

Five minutes later Akinfeev produced another save as he denied a close-range shot by Fatai, who beat the visitors' defence on a breakaway.

CSKA soon made the hosts pay. In the 65th minute Vitinho picked a rebound and smashed the ball into the net with a low shot from 20 yards out.

Second-half substitute Chalov added his goal in the dying seconds to seal CSKA's victory.



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