- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian Premier League title race will go to the last day after wins for CSKA Moscow and surprise challenger FC Rostov, who qualified for the Champions League for the first time on Monday.

CSKA beat FC Krasnodar 2-0 at home thanks to goals from Ahmed Musa, who scored from the edge of the box, and Roman Eremenko, who hit the second just after halftime following a missed interception by Krasnodar defender Ragnar Sigurdsson.

CSKA, unbeaten in its last seven games, faces a tricky visit to Rubin Kazan on Saturday, but has a two-point cushion over Rostov, which has sustained a surprising title challenge despite financial problems and a lack of big-name players. Rostov must face Terek Grozny away in Chechnya.

If CSKA and Rostov finish level on points, Rostov - which only narrowly escaped relegation last season - would take the title thanks to its superior head-to-head record.

Rostov looked set for a goalless draw at home to Ural Yekaterinburg, which would have handed CSKA the title, but won 1-0 after striker Serdar Azmoun’s looping second-half header.

Azmoun has scored in each of Rostov’s last five games, sparking reports in Russia linking him with top European clubs.

The win comes after a turbulent few days for Rostov, whose players faced drug testing last week in a FIFA swoop following allegations the club issued a tender to buy the banned substance meldonium. No results have been announced. The club also faces possible financial fair-play sanctions from UEFA.

Reigning champion Zenit St. Petersburg will have to settle for Europa League football next season. Zenit is third, four points off Rostov, and drew with Lokomotiv Moscow 1-1 on Sunday in a game which ended in a mass brawl.

Star striker Hulk and midfielder Axel Witsel will miss Zenit’s last game of the season against Dynamo Moscow after brawling earned them bookings which put them over the yellow card limit.

Also heading for the Europa League are Krasnodar and Spartak Moscow, which beat Terek 3-0 on Monday.

At the bottom of the table, Dynamo was third from bottom and could be relegated for the first time. Dynamo, one of Russia’s most storied clubs, lost 1-0 on Monday to Kuban Krasnodar, which escaped the drop zone with the win. The only goal was by striker Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Mordovia Saransk and FC Ufa occupy the automatic relegation spots, while Anzhi Makhachkala and Dynamo are in the relegation playoff places.

Gazovik Orenburg will play top-flight football for the first time next season after securing promotion from the second tier alongside Arsenal Tula, which bounced back at the first attempt after relegation in its last campaign.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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