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Spartak Moscow Wins First League Title in 16 Years

Spartak Moscow's head coach Massimo Carrera (2nd R) and Dmitry Kombarov (2nd L) celebrate victory in a match against Zenit St. Petersburg at the Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow on April 16. Spartak won 2-1. VALERY SHARIFULIN / TASS

The Spartak Moscow football team has won its first Russian Premier League title since 2001 after rival Zenit St. Petersburg suffered a shock defeat at home to Chechen side Terek Grozny on May 7.

Terek’s unexpected 1-0 victory at the St. Petersburg team’s brand-new Zenit Arena stadium means that with three games to play, neither third-placed Zenit nor second-placed CSKA Moscow can now catch Spartak.

Spartak has 63 points after beating bottom-of-the-table Tom Tomsk 1-0 on May 6. CSKA Moscow has 53 points, while Zenit has 52.

Spartak Moscow dominated Russian football in the 1990s after the end of the Soviet Union, winning a total of nine titles between 1992 and 2001.

But since then it has struggled, with Gazprom-backed Zenit St. Petersburg and city rivals CSKA dominating the league in the last 10 years, though Rubin Kazan won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.

Winning the league means that Spartak is guaranteed a place in the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2010.

The season ends on May 21, 2017.

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