- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

MOSCOW (AP) - FC Krasnodar prolonged the Russian Premier League title race Monday with a draw that prevented Zenit St. Petersburg from becoming champion.

Krasnodar’s 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Amkar Perm leaves Zenit eight points clear at the top with three games remaining.

Mauricio Pereyra’s ninth-minute opener for Krasnodar was canceled out by Amkar’s Janusz Gol, before Pereyra then saw his second-half penalty saved.

Defeat for Krasnodar would have handed Zenit a first Russian title since 2012.

Zenit remains overwhelmingly likely to take the title, needing just one point from its last three games.

Should Zenit and Krasnodar finish level on points, Zenit would take the title thanks to a superior head-to-head record.

On Sunday, Zenit defeated FC Rostov 3-0, prolonging an unbeaten streak that now stretches back 12 league games to November.

Midfielder Oleg Shatov and Hulk put Zenit 2-0 ahead at halftime with goals in the dying minutes of the first half, before Venezuelan striker Jose Salomon Rondon polished the scoreline with an 87th-minute strike.

Considering Zenit’s large points advantage, Krasnodar, from southern Russia, is more focused on its fight to qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

Holding the second of Russia’s two Champions League places, it is two points ahead of reigning Russian champion CSKA Moscow.

On Sunday, goals from Alan Dzagoev and Zoran Tosic helped CSKA to a 3-1 win over crosstown rival Lokomotiv Moscow, its third victory in a row following a period of poor form last month.

Lokomotiv coach Miodrag Bozovic resigned Monday in the wake of the defeat to CSKA, which leaves the Railwaymen seventh, a major disappointment for a team which challenged for the title last season.

Monday saw nine-time Russian champion Spartak Moscow’s season set to end with recriminations after coach Murat Yakin publicly criticized his players’ attitude.

Spartak is sixth following a 4-2 defeat to Chechen team Terek Grozny, even though Terek played more than half of the match with 10 men following Oleg Ivanov’s sending-off for a poor tackle.

Following the game, Yakin told Russian media the Spartak players lacked “the class and the spirit” needed to compete in Europe.

In other results, fourth-placed Dynamo Moscow drew 0-0 with Torpedo Moscow on Sunday, while fifth-placed Rubin Kazan defeated Kuban Krasnodar 1-0 on Friday.

Mordovia Saransk, from the 2018 World Cup host city of Saransk, secured safety with a 1-0 win over fellow relegation contender Arsenal Tula, and there was a 1-1 draw between FC Ufa and Ural Yekaterinburg.

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