Pride at stake for Spartak against Rubin Kazan
Pride will be at stake as nine-time champions Spartak Moscow look to bounce back from last weekend's 5-0 thrashing by reigning Russian league champions Zenit St Petersburg at home to Rubin Kazan on Saturday.
"We've already put that heavy defeat behind us," Spartak defender Yevgeny Makeyev warned. "We've analysed the reasons for the defeat and have drawn the necessary conclusions.
"To win the next tie after such a thrashing will be a point of honour for us."
Spartak and Rubin are both joint second in the Russian league table three points behind high-flying Zenit after four games.
Spartak have strengthened with Brazilian midfielder Romulo, who has returned from Olympic duty, and recently-signed Argentinian defender Juan Manuel Insaurralde, but will be without rookie Swedish playmaker Kim Kallstrom, sidelined with a hip injury.
Rubin manager Kerban Berdyev insisted that his team are still looking to hit their top form this season.
"We've just started the new season and are still seeking our best form," Berdyev said. "We expect a tough battle on Saturday like it have always been in the matches with Spartak."
Zenit, who have enjoyed a perfect start to the season with four wins in as many matches, will try to extend their winning run away to big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala.
Zenit are in a brave mood after the morale-boosting win over Spartak but Anzhi, managed by Dutch guru Guus Hiddink, look confident on their home turf winning both of their home matches this season.
The reigning champions, who will be without injured midfielder Sergei Semak and striker Alexander Kerzhakov, expect a tough match in Makhachkala on Sunday.
"Anzhi will definitely have a point to prove on front of their home crowd after a defeat in the previous match with CSKA," Zenit midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov said.
"The win in a match against champions is the best possible opportunity for it."
"I know that the arena at Makhachkala will be at full capacity and I expect a tough match there."
Struggling tailenders Dynamo Moscow, the only league side never to have been relegated, will try to score their first goal of the season and to chalk up a first point in the home match with Terek Grozny.
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