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CSKA Moscow retains Russian league title

Saturday, May 17, 2014

MOSCOW - CSKA Moscow retained the Russian title in dramatic fashion on the final day of the season yesterday after a 1-0 win against capital rivals Lokomotiv.

Serbian winger Zoran Tosic netted the only goal of the game as CSKA made it 10 consecutive wins to end the campaign and finish above Lokomotiv and Zenit St Petersburg.

CSKA finish a point clear of Zenit and five ahead of third-placed Lokomotiv to win their fifth Russian title and qualify for next season's Champions League.

Zenit will join them in Europe's leading club competition but Lokomotiv must settle for a place in the Europa League.

Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia — scorer of a league-high 18 goals this season — has so often been the matchwinner this season for CSKA but Tosic was the hero this time.

The former Manchester United player beat Lokomotiv's Brazilian goalkeeper Guilherme from 22 metres just after the interval at the Arena Khimki.

"It's a great win and I'm really grateful to my players for their strong character," CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky said.

"We experienced serious pressure and certain personnel problems throughout the season but today it's all in the past. We are the champions!"

Zenit's momentum was clipped by events last weekend, when serious crowd trouble forced the abandonment of their game against Dynamo Moscow.

The Russian Football Union handed down a host of sanctions, including awarding Dynamo a 3-0 win for the game.

As a result, Andre Villas-Boas's side needed to win and hope for a slip-up by CSKA in order to win the title and they at least fulfilled their part of the bargain, hammering Kuban Krasnodar 4-1 away.

Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel, Venezuelan forward Salomon Rondon, Oleg Shatov and Brazil star Hulk got Zenit's goals with Lorenzo Melgarejo pulling a goal back for the hosts.

Zenit get the consolation of a place in the Champions League, while Dynamo Moscow and FC Krasnodar join Lokomotiv in the Europa League.

Volga Nizhny Novgorod and Anzhi Makhachkala were relegated, while Tomsk and Samara will face play-offs against the third and fourth-placed teams from the second division.

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