CSKA and Anzhi seek to shrug off surprise departures
Russian champions CSKA Moscow this weekend clash with city rivals Lokomotiv after the surprise departure of Brazilian forward Vagner Love to China, as big-spending Anzhi seek to overcome the equally unexpected exit of Dutch manager Guus Hiddink.
The Red Army side's attacking potential suffered a serious blow when the charismatic Vagner left the Moscow club for Chinese top flight side Shandong Luneng Taisan.
"We are all grateful to Vagner for his services in our club," CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky said. "But when you coach a serious club you should be ready for the departure of the team's leaders and take it philosophically.
"We can boost our line-up with new signings as the transfer window is still open."
Earlier this month, CSKA's forward line was weakened with the departure of Czech forward Tomas Necid to Greek Superleague side PAOK on loan.
A number of players, including midfielders Georgi Milanov, Zoran Tosic and Alexander Cauna, plus defenders Kirill Nababkin and Mario Fernandes are also on the injury list.
Lokomotiv, meanwhile, are striving to overcome a hit-and-miss season last time round under new chief coach Leonid Kuchuk and will be able to field a full-strength squad on Sunday.
The Russian Premier League's big-spenders Anzhi, who play at Samara on Sunday, also suffered a serious loss this week when their manager Guus Hiddink resigned from his post.
The 66-year-old compatriot Rene Meulensteen was appointed to replace him. It remains unclear why Hiddink quit, just weeks after signing a new contract.
Meulensteen made an impressive career as assistant coach to Alex Ferguson at English Premier League giants Manchester United but his capabilities as a head coach have never been seriously tested.
In Samara, Anzhi will be without forwards Alexander Kokorin, who is serving a disciplinary ban, and Lacina Traore of Ivory Coast, who is recovering from injury.
Left-sided player Yury Zhirkov and full back Andrei Yeshchenko are also likely to be unavailable.
Last season's runners-up Zenit St Petersburg, who play at home on Friday against Kuban Krasnodar, are still without first-choice keeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev.
Italian wingback Domenico Criscito and Russian international midfielder Roman Shirokov are also receiving treatment for injuries.
League leaders Spartak Moscow, with two wins in two games, play Dynamo in another Moscow derby on Saturday.
Spartak will be without their Ukrainian international goalkeeper Andrei Dykan, Czech defender Marek Suchy and Brazilian midfielder Romulo, while Dynamo will have to play without suspended Hungarian winger Balasz Dzsudzsak and German marksman Kevin Kuranyi, who is still injured.
Zenit St Petersburg v Kuban Krasnodar
Ural Yekaterinburg v Volga Nizhny Novgorod
Rostov v Tomsk
Dynamo Moscow v Spartak Moscow
Lokomotiv Moscow v CSKA Moscow
Samara v Anzhi Makhachkala
Terek Grozny v Rubin Kazan
FC Krasnodar v Amkar Perm
Related CSKA Moscow News