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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spartak Cruises to 3rd Straight Russian Title

Spartak Moscow clinched its third successive Russian championship Sunday with a stylish 3-1 home win over Shinnik Yaroslavl.

Spartak, needing only a draw to keep city rivals CSKA at bay, did not take any chances and built a commanding 3-0 lead by halftime.

Dmitro Parfyonov opened the scoring with a powerful half-volley in the 19th minute. The Ukrainian full back then laid on the pass for Andrei Tikhonov to hit a second in the 37th minute.

Three minutes later Belarussian midfielder Vasily Parfyonov made it 3-0 with a rocket shot into the top left corner of the net.

The clinching of the title, however, came at a time when Spartak coach Oleg Romantsev is less then happy with his squad's recent domestic form.

"We should have clinched first place some five weeks ago, so we could fully concentrate on the Champions' League," he said.

"And we have only ourselves to blame for that."

Second-placed CSKA defeated Rotor Volgograd 2-0 to stay a point ahead of Lokomotiv Moscow, 3-1 winners at Krylya Sovietov Samara.

First half goals by CSKA's Sergei Filippenkov and Vladimir Kulik propelled the army side to their 11th straight win, equalling the league record.

Dynamo, another in-form Moscow side, won 1-0 at Uralan Elista. Belarussian defender Andrei Ostrovsky's lone goal with 15 minutes left moved the militia side into the top 10 for the first time this season.

Vyacheslav Gerashchenko's hat-trick powered Chernomorets Novorossiisk to a 3-0 triumph at lowly Tyumen, enabling the Black Sea side to escape relegation.


Did Michael Owen's four-goal blast Saturday prove that his managers were right to rest him from Liverpool's midweek UEFA Cup match with Valencia?

Owen was left on the bench Tuesday after Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier decided he was showing signs of tiredness in training f and Liverpool labored to a goalless draw.

Back in the starting line-up Saturday, he was on the scoresheet after 10 minutes and added three more as Liverpool swept to an exhilarating 5-1 English premier league victory over Nottingham Forest.

"The first conclusion is that we did right to rest him," said Houllier after Saturday's Anfield blitz that took his team up to third in the standings.

"He maybe had to refuel his batteries f we did it for his own good and he knows that.

"I thought his mental and physical state was just right today f I think we probably did the right thing at the right time," added the Frenchman.

Evans, who introduced Owen to senior soccer last season, was similarly happy with the decision.

"He hadn't quite got the sharpness in training and we have to remember he is a commodity for a long, long time," he said.

"He's come so far in such a short time and there has not been a minute of the day that has not been football.

"We'll say the rest has done him good f others may argue he could have scored four against Valencia."

In Turin, Italy, Alessandro Del Piero scored with four minutes remaining to give nine-man Juventus an unlikely 1-0 home win over Inter Milan on Sunday.

The Juventus captain slotted home from close range after Gianluca Pagliuca had blocked his 86th minute penalty awarded for a clumsy tackle by Fabio Galante on Filippo Inzaghi.

The Italian champions appeared to have lost all hope of victory when their French World Cup playmaker Zinedine Zidane was dismissed for a two-footed challenge on Portugal's Paolo Sousa in the 49th minute.

Zidane's Dutch team mate Edgar Davids was also dismissed in the dying seconds for his second bookable offence.

Victory lifted Juventus into second-place in serie A with 13 points, two adrift of early pacesetters Fiorentina. Inter dropped to sixth after its second successive defeat.

In Pasadena, California, the expansion Chicago Fire capped off its first year by toppling two-time defender D.C. United for the championship of Major League Soccer on Sunday.

A pair of first-half goals and a savvy defensive performance gave Chicago a 2-0 victory over the heavily favored Washington-based club, which had won the first two MLS Cups.

Chicago denied D.C. its third straight title in front of 51,350 fans at the Rose Bowl on goals by Jerzy Podbrozny and Diego Gutierrez.

"To play D.C. United in the final means a great deal since I was part of that organization for two years. To come away with a victory is very special," said Chicago coach Bob Bradley, who was an assistant coach at D.C. in 1996 and 1997.