17.08.2018 15:06 h

Zenit return to domestic front after stunning European win

The early pacesetters in the Russian Premier League return to domestic action with their managers insisting that their very different results in Europe in midweek will have a positive impact.

Zenit Saint Petersburg, who will seek to extend their perfect league start against Ural Yekaterinburg on Sunday, overcame a four-goal deficit and a red card to beat Dinamo Minsk of Belarus 8-5 on aggregate after extra time in the Europa League on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow, who are two points behind, travel to Krasnodar on Saturday struggling to rebound after also playing with 10 men and crashing out of the Champions League on Tuesday with a goalless home draw to lose 3-2 on aggregate to PAOK of Greece.

Zenit manager Sergei Semak said he was proud of his team's achievement in Europe, adding he wanted to maintain the winning run.

"It was a fantastic match," Semak told Russian TV after Thursday's stunning 8-1 victory, which featured a hat-trick from Russia striker Artem Dzyuba after he pledged his future to the club.

"My players are all heroes in my opinion. But we should never forget there will be more significant matches against more serious opponents. And we desperately need to keep our winning spirit. The match with Ural will show whether we're capable of doing that."

Massimo Carrera, the Spartak coach, insisted that the European setback will galvanise his squad.

"I don't believe that the Champions League flop will spoil the entire season for us," Carrera told his club's own press service.

"All of my players are very upset but I believe this failure will serve as a motivating stimulus for them. We still have opportunities to show our worth in the domestic and the Europa leagues."

Reigning champions Lokomotiv Moscow, who sit in 14th after a disastrous start that has yielded just two points from three games, take their winless streak to promoted Samara on Sunday.

Lokomotiv head coach Yury Syomin said he was pleased with his team's performance in last week's 1-0 loss to Orenburg.

"You always need to go through a hard trial to bring the team up to a new higher level," Syomin told the club's website.

"Against Orenburg we played much better than in our previous two games. We lacked some good luck but it's not a big problem. We just need to keep on working."

Fixtures (all times GMT)