Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spartak to Meet Lokomotiv In Russia Cup Final Rematch




League champion Spartak Moscow meets city rival Lokomotiv in the Russian Cup final Sunday at Luzhniki Olympic Stadium in a rematch of a memorable battle between the two sides two years ago.


It will be the railroad side's third straight appearance in the final, having won the cup on the last two occasions, while Spartak has made the final twice in the past three years.


In a meeting earlier this season, Spartak won 2-0 in the second league game.


But cup matches can be a totally different story. A team's place in the standings matters little, and character and emotions can help the underdog defy the odds.


This is exactly what happened in 1996 when Lokomotiv came from behind to upset Spartak 3-2 and claim the cup for the first time since 1957, denying the red-and-white the rare feat of winning the cup and the Russian league title in the same season.


The two teams had difficult paths to the final this year. Spartak beat perennial contender Rotor in Volgograd 2-0 in one semifinal, while Lokomotiv sent home dangerous Alania Vladikavkaz with a 1-0 win in the other.


Both teams have also made a big splash in Europe this year, advancing to the Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cup semifinals respectively -- the first such achievement for Russian teams.


Spartak, however, has found itself recently in unfamiliar territory -- clinging to ninth place in the premier league after the last round of league matches.


It could have sunk even deeper if not for a remarkable comeback in Rostov-on-Don on Wednesday. There, Spartak was able to salvage a 3-3 draw against local Rostselmash after being down 3-0 just 26 minutes into the game.


Nevertheless, Spartak again is considered a strong favorite to secure the silver trophy for the first time since 1994.


"No matter what place we are in, we play every game to win," said the team's captain and Russian player of the year Dmitry Alenichev.


Game time is 6 p.m. Sunday.