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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CSKA Win Worsens Spartak Nightmare

On a record-breaking Saturday, Spartak slumped to its third straight defeat and seven red cards were shown in eight matches, including four in the Moscow derby between Spartak and CSKA.

The game between the two Moscow rivals attracted a 30,000-strong crowd at Moscow's Dynamo Stadium.

The derby was supposed to be Spartak's first step out of the crisis the team has plunged into having lost its two previous games. The league leader had not lost three league games in a row since the founding of the Premier League in 1992.

For this game, Spartak had turned to youth for inspiration in the form of Cameroon defender Jerry Christian Tchuise and Georgian defender Otar Khizaineshvili, but the match began disastrously for the defending champion. As early as the second minute, a pass from CSKA defender Yevgeny Varlamov found Alexei Saveliyev, who dribbled past Tchuise to score a spectacular opener from just outside the penalty area.

But Spartak seemed unruffled with the early setback and kept up heavy pressure on the CSKA goal. Andrei Tikhonov labored hard along the right touchline, delivering incisive crosses to the Spartak forwards. But the CSKA defenders looked more confident, and goalkeeper Yury Okroshidze was at his best when he blocked a shot from Andreas Shtoltsers.

The much-criticized Spartak defense was reduced to 10 men just before the break as 18-year-old Khizaineshvili pulled Vladimir Kulik's shorts and immediately received his marching orders.

The reigning champion began the second half as if it had the one-man advantage, and the pressure paid off as an Andreas Shtoltsers header brought Spartak back level, though this could be seen as a bad sign: Shtoltsers had scored but Spartak had lost in its two previous league matches.

This game proved no exception, as CSKA scored the winner in the 64th minute with a goal from Alexei Bychkov, now seven points from relegation zone, ensuring the army side moved to seven points from the relegation zone.

That wasn't the end of the action, though, as 10 minutes from time both the teams were reduced to nine men as Spartak forward Robson and CSKA captain Vladimir Varlamov were sent off for brawling, and four minutes later CSKA defender Maxim Bokov was given his marching orders for a second yellow card.

After the scandal-plagued match, Spartak coach Oleg Romantsev failed to show up for the press conference. His assistant, Vyacheslav Grozny, stood in for Romantsev and he expressed his anger at the refereeing: "[The referee] was on CSKA's side. We will submit an official protest."

Spartak's only real rival for the title, Lokomotiv Moscow, thrashed Rotor 4-1 and moved one point behind the leader with a game in hand. Dmitry Loskov scored two of Loko's goals to take the lead in the goalscoring charts with 11.

Torpedo Moscow won 2-1 at home against an in-form Chernomorets in a match that was also marred by red cards: Chernomorets players Sergei Snytko and Alexander Prizetko were both expelled from the field.

Saturn stopped Zenit's nine-game winning streak with a 1-1 draw in St. Petersburg.

Hundreds of CSKA and Spartak fans clashed near Begovaya metro after the game, Interfax reported.

Police said five people were arrested and one was injured in the fighting, which broke out at around 10 p.m.

Police stopped the fighting, in which some youths wielded clubs and chains, Interfax said.