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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CSKA Stuns Complacent Spartak 4-1




In what had been billed as the match of the year, second-placed CSKA proved itself to be a championship contender with a surprising 4-1 drubbing of Russian league-leader Spartak.


CSKA closed the gap to six points on Spartak, which now has some serious work to do ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match against Real Madrid at Luzhniki Stadium.


In a local derby marred by brawls between rival supporters before, during and after the match, CSKA took an early lead and never looked back, recording its first victory over Spartak since the post-Soviet league was set up in 1992.


The army team's first goal came after 15 minutes following a mix up in the Spartak defense as Yevgeny Bushmanov's chested back-pass went past goalkeeper Alexander Filimonov, who had come out for the ball. CSKA forward Dmitry Khomukha quickly capitalized on the blunder to slot home for 1-0.


Spartak never recovered from this setback and rarely looked like finding its way through CSKA's solid defense. CSKA soon found the net again when Andrei Tsaplin's ball across goal was tapped in by Sergei Filippenkov from close range. Spartak could have got itself back into the match when, after failing to clear two CSKA corners, it finally succeeded on the third and then broke quickly, with Andrei Tikhonov setting up Samaroni whose shot had keeper Andrei Novosadov well beaten but went just wide.


After the break, with Spartak looking no more threatening, CSKA soon went up 3-0 courtesy of an Alexander Borodkin conversion off a corner in the 54th minute. This triggered a mass exodus of disgusted Spartak fans from the 33,000-strong crowd. Khomukha got his second and CSKA's fourth with a superb free kick three minutes from time. Hardly any CSKA fans were left to cheer Brazilian substitute striker Robson's injury time consolation goal for Spartak, as CSKA was caught waiting for the referee to stop play for an injury to one of its players.


"We are a better team than Spartak right now," CSKA coach Oleg Dolmatov said after the match. "They didn't pose any trouble for us." The question is, with only four matches to play, can CSKA hope to close the gap?


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Aston Villa boosted its lead in the English premier league to five points on Saturday but the day was marred by the sight of a referee being shoved to the ground after showing a red card at Sheffield Wednesday.


Villa capped one of its best starts to a season for decades with a 1-0 victory at home over second-placed Derby County.


But the result was overshadowed by one of the most spectacular sendings-off in Britain for years in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat of reigning champion Arsenal that ended with Wednesday's fiery striker Paolo di Canio being suspended by his club.


The Italian floored referee Paul Alcock seconds after being shown the red card for violent conduct and now faces what is likely to be tough punishment by the English Football Association.


Arsenal's Martin Keown was also sent off after the mass brawl.


Announcing that di Canio had been suspended with immediate effort, Wednesday manager Danny Wilson said: "He totally lost it for a second. We suspended him straight away. I don't know what was going through his head."


FA spokesman David Davies added: "This is a very serious incident indeed. It is very clear what happened.


"The FA have considerable powers. People will look at precedents of assaults on referees and alleged assaults. When they have been seen to be proved, the punishments have been very serious in terms of suspensions."


England international Paul Merson, a recent signing from Middlesbrough, helped Villa boost their lead over second-placed Derby with a well-taken 15th minute goal.


After beating the Derby offside trap, Merson sprinted down the middle and slotted the ball just inside the left-hand post.


The game in Birmingham between two clubs who started the day just two points apart should have taken center stage.


But the game at Sheffield which ended with a dramatic late winner from Lee Briscoe, a superb chip from the edge of the box, was the talk of the day.


Dutch first division leader Feyenoord scored two of three injury time goals to beat 10-man Willem II Tilburg 3-2 on Saturday.


The Tilburg side had Jeffrey Prommayon sent off in the 48th minute after receiving a second yellow card.


Its coach Co Ardiaanse was later ordered up into the stands by the referee after he walked on to the pitch several times.


Argentinean striker Julio Cruz gave Feyenoord the lead in the 11th minute f a lead they held until eight minutes before halftime.


Much of the second half drama was contained in time added on for stoppages.


Cruz put Feyenoord ahead and then Igor Korneev made it 3-1 from the penalty spot after Paul Bosvelt had been brought down by Mark Schenning.