5/5/2018 10:01:10 PM

Portugal hero Eder strikes to earn Lokomotiv title

Portugal hero Eder strikes to earn Lokomotiv title

Moscow, Russia: Portugal's Euro 2016 final hero Eder scored late to secure Lokomotiv Moscow their first Russian league title since 2004 on Saturday.

Eder netted three minutes from time against Roberto Mancini's Zenit St Petersburg to earn Lokomotiv a 1-0 win and leave them four points ahead of city rivals Spartak with just one match to go.

In front of a capacity 27,000 crowd at Moscow's RZhD Arena Eder came on as a second-half substitute in the 79th minute.

That was uncannily the precise same minute he entered proceedings at the Stade de France in the Euro 2016 final when he went on to score the match winner to down France and hand Portugal their first European crown.

"I always believed that we're capable of winning the title," said Lokomotiv head coach Yury Syomin, who signed a new one-year contract with the club this week.

"Even when we dropped points in recent games I believed in my players. We've passed this tough test with dignity."

Lokomotiv, winless in their last three league outings, started cautiously trying to avoid any unnecessary risks.

In a low-key start Zenit's only meaningful chance came in the 40th minute, when Alexander Erokhin found unmarked striker Sebastian Driussi in the area, but the Argentinian failed to find the net.

After the interval Lokomotiv changed up a gear and in the 66th minute Peruvian winger Jefferson Farfan scored only to see his effort ruled out for offside.

Then just as the game looked to be heading towards a goalless conclusion Eder broke the deadlock, firing the ball in from close range off Vladislav Ignatiev's pinpoint right-wing cross. 

"I'd like to congratulate Lokomotiv on the title," said Zenit boss Mancini, who is tipped to take the vacant Italy job. "They've played well this season and won deservedly.

"We were not at all happy with a draw and tried to snatch the victory in the end of the game. But with that we gave Lokomotiv too much space and conceded a goal." 

Spartak are on course to clinch second place and claim a spot in next season's Champions League group stage following a 2-0 home win over Rostov.

Spartak, Russia's most successful club, dominated but were frustrated until the 79th minute, when Paraguayan forward Lorenzo Melgarejo struck with an angled close-range shot.

Dutchman Quincy Promes made it 2-0 five minutes later with his league-best 15th goal of the season.

Krasnodar climbed to third as Swede Viktor Claesson scored in first-half injury time to earn his side a 1-0 win over relegated SKA Khabarovsk.

But fourth-placed CSKA Moscow, who take on Arsenal Tula on Sunday, have a chance to move back ahead of Krasnodar if they manage to beat the side from Russia's city of gunsmiths.

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