MOSCOW, August 17 (RIA Novosti)
(UPDATES with new information on Dynamo Moscow, changes headline, changes lead, adds background, minor edits)
Spartak Moscow will try to recover from a 5-0 thrashing by Zenit St. Petersburg when they take on former champions Rubin Kazan on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Zenit face Anzhi in a clash between two injury-ravaged title contenders.
Zenit’s demolition of Spartak last week ended former Valencia coach Unai Emery’s honeymoon period at the Moscow club and was a swift change of fortunes after thrashing city rivals Dynamo 4-0 the week before.
Spartak will miss ex-Celtic winger Aiden McGeady, who was sent off against Zenit for a dangerous tackle.
Rubin, in second place behind Zenit and level on nine points with Spartak, have won all of their last three games since an opening-day defeat to FC Krasnodar, although they have yet to face a team in the top half of the table.
Zenit will be without captain Alexander Anyukov when they travel to the Caucasus to play Anzhi, while midfielder Roman Shirokov and strikers Alexander Kerzhakov and Alexander Bukharov are all injury doubts for the St. Petersburg side.
Goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev and midfielder Viktor Faizulin, Igor Denisov and Vladimir Bystrov were all on international duty for Russia against the Ivory Coast on Wednesday, as was Anzhi's right-back Arseny Logashov.
Anzhi could be without their first-choice strike pairing of Samuel Eto’o and Lacina Traore, meaning that on-loan youngster Fyodor Smolov may either start on his own up front, or be supported by Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez.
“[Eto’o] has a cold and we’ve decided that it’s better for him to skip the training session," Anzhi coach Guus Hiddink said Friday.
"Tomorrow we’ll see whether he is able to play against Zenit.”
Traore is recovering from a thigh injury.
Despite ex-Chelsea player Dan Petrescu being appointed Dynamo Moscow coach on Friday, caretaker boss Dmitry Khokhlov will remain in charge for Sunday’s game at home to Terek Grozny, before Petrescu takes charge in time for a trip to Stuttgart on Wednesday.
Young midfielders Artur Yusupov and Alexander Sapeta are likely to stake a claim to start against Terek after playing well for Russia’s B team against Belgium under-19s in midweek.
For Terek, midfielder Mauricio could return despite “it’s wrong to say he’s 100 percent ready”, coach Stanislav Cherchesov said on the team website Thursday. Midfielder Oleg Ivanov is suspended.
In the rest of the weekend’s action, Lokomotiv Moscow travel to FC Volga on Saturday, while Krasnodar host FC Rostov.
On Sunday, CSKA Moscow travel to minnows Mordovia Saransk, while Monday sees Krylya Sovetov host Amkar Perm and Petrescu’s former team FC Kuban visit Alania Vladikavkaz.
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