19.05.2019 20:54 h

Krasnodar boost hopes of first Champions League group-stage appearance

Sergey Petrov (Krasnodar)
Sergey Petrov (Krasnodar)

Krasnodar kept their hopes of a maiden Champions League group-stage campaign alive, as a 3-0 win at Arsenal Tula on Sunday took the race for second place in Russia to the final day of the season.

But Krasnodar remain behind last term's Premier League champions Lokomotiv Moscow on head-to-head, after the capital-city side's 2-2 draw with Ural Yekaterinburg.

Zenit St Petersburg have already wrapped up the title, and sit eight points clear of Lokomotiv and Krasnodar heading into their final match despite a 1-0 loss at Rostov.

The third-placed team will enter the Champions League qualifying rounds.

"It's an excellent result," said Krasnodar manager Murad Musaev, whose team host Rubin Kazan next weekend, while Lokomotiv welcome Ufa to Moscow.

"Hopefully, we will be able to play at our top level in the next match with Rubin, which is already sold out. We will do everything we can to finish second."

Krasnodar took the lead in the 55th minute through Sergei Petrov, before Uruguayan Mauricio Pereyra made it two with a fine free-kick 13 minutes later and Brazilian Ari rounded off the scoring late on.

Krasnodar have never played in Europe's elite competition before, and matched their best continental performance with this season's run to the Europa League last 16.

Earlier on Sunday, Russian international Anton Miranchuk scored twice to keep Lokomotiv's push for second spot in their own hands.

Ural forward Andrei Panyukov levelled in the 39th minute after Miranchuk's opener, before Lokomotiv 'keeper Marinato Guilherme put through his own net just after half-time.

Miranchuk levelled in the 64th minute from the spot, but despite a 66th-minute sending off for Ural defender Stefan Strandberg, Lokomotiv could not find a winner.

"It's pity that we failed to win," Lokomotiv coach Yury Syomin said.

Elsewhere, Zenit failed to extend their 11-match unbeaten streak as Rostov midfielder Ivelin Popov scored the only goal with a penalty.