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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Crisis Means Red Faces For Spartak

Russian athletes are getting used to transport problems caused by the country's financial crisis.

But things appear to have reached rock bottom when one of the Soviet Union's greatest ice hockey clubs, Spartak Moscow, was reduced to hitchhiking to an away game last weekend.

Cash-strapped Spartak, now second from bottom of the 22-team Russian Hockey League's premier division, was on its way to Voskresensk, about an hour by road outside Moscow, last Sunday when its aging team bus broke down on the highway.

A club official was forced to hitchhike to the nearest bus station, where he had to persuade an off-duty driver to give up his tea break to take the players the last 30 kilometers. They arrived at the rink with only minutes to spare.

"Our players were tired in the final period because of having such a draining trip," said Spartak boss Naum Reznikov, explaining away a 3-1 defeat by local side, Khimik Voskresensk.

Last month, Spartak was forced to accept the generosity of rivals Metalurg Novokuznetsk f which paid for its trip to Siberia for a game Spartak duly lost.