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  Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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The Russian capital is set on Saturday
The Russian capital is set on Saturday for one of the year's biggest games, the Moscow derby between deadly rivals CSKA and Spartak.

CSKA Moscow will be looking to extend an eleven-match winning run in all competitions to stay within theoretical striking distance of the runaway leaders, 2008's surprise package Rubin FC, from the republic of Tatarstan.

Spartak Moscow, their nominal guests (both teams count the former Olympic stadium Luzhniki as their home ground) will be seeking to avenge a humiliating 5-1 defeat earlier in the season.

That game was one of the main reasons for the dismissal of former Spartak goalkeeper Stanislav Cherchesov as coach. His successor, Danish soccer legend Michael Laudrup, will also be hoping to earn Spartak their first win in seven years against CSKA.

A convincing win for Spartak against their old rivals would go some way toward easing the pain of one of the perennial 1990s Russian champions' worst seasons since the break up of the U.S.S.R. Currently in sixth place, Spartak also need the three points to push for European soccer next year.

In the event of Laudrup earning the undying loyalty of the Spartak fans with a victory in the 124th league meeting between the two clubs, a win for Rubin on Sunday against Moscow Region side Saturn will see the title go to Tatarstan for the first time in the year that the club celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.

It would also be the second season in a row that the title has been decided at Saturn's Ramenskoe ground after Zenit's win their last season wrapped up the club's first championship.

The match kicks off at 4:00 p.m. (13:00 GMT). It will be shown live on Russia's Channel One.

In Saturday's other game, Zenit St. Petersburg take on lowly Khimki from the Moscow Region in a match that they must win to maintain their faltering bid for a Champions League place.

In the 2009/10 season, for the first time, the top three teams in the Russian Premier League will qualify for the Champions League. The top two clubs will go into the group stages, with the third-placed team starting in the second qualifying round. The fourth- and fifth-placed teams will enter the UEFA Cup, while the bottom two sides are relegated.

Table - (After 26 games)

Rubin - 57

CSKA Moscow - 50

Dynamo Moscow - 44

Amkar - 41

Zenit St Petersburg - 40

Spartak Moscow - 40

Lokomotiv Moscow - 38

Krilya Sovetov -38

FC Moskva -34

Spartak Nalchik - 30

Terek Grozny -30

Saturn -28

Tom Tomsk -27

Khimki -23

Luch-Energiya -20

Shinnik -18


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