02.05.2019 11:29 h

Zenit eye Russian league title on trip to Akhmat

Russian Premier League table-toppers Zenit St Petersburg head to Akhmat Grozny on Saturday eyeing a fifth title with four games still to play.

Zenit are eight points clear of second-placed Lokomotiv Moscow, the defending champions who need to win away at Arsenal Tula to keep alive their slim chances of retaining the title.

Krasnodar, who beat CSKA Moscow 2-0 last week, sit third, three points further back.

Zenit need just a point to get an automatic qualification for next season's Champions League -- their season's main goal.

But the Saint Petersburg outfit, who are in the hunt for their first domestic title in four years, are gearing up to extend their four-match winning streak at Grozny.

"We're all focused on the upcoming match at Grozny," manager Sergei Semak told the club web site.

"The win there may bring us a title if Lokomotiv will lose points at Tula. But first of all we must focus on our own performance to avoid any unpleasant surprises."

Lokomotiv may still be in title contention but have a worrying injury list.

"We still have title aspirations as we still are the reigning champions," Lokomotiv press service quoted coach Yury Syomin as saying.

"In the upcoming games we will experience serious problems in defence as we've missed a number of first-line players through injuries including two full backs and two defensive midfielders.

"Zenit are unlikely to squander their solid advantage but we will continue to battle as an automatic qualification for the Champions League is at stake."

Krasnodar, who have been inconsistent since the league resumed from the winter break, will have to pass a tough test in the southern derby with Rostov on Sunday.

"We have been criticised for our unstable performance in recent matches," Krasnodar head coach Murad Musaev said.

"We understand that it's a deserved criticism, we don't try to find an excuse for it and we all work hard to show our best football.

"CSKA are just two points behind and we have no room for mistakes in the remaining matches as we all dream to win a place in the Champions League for the first time ever."

Fixtures (all times GMT)