MOSCOW - Rubin Kazan held Zenit St Petersburg to a 0-0 draw to seal their second consecutive Russian Premier League title on Saturday.
The scoreless stalemate in Kazan gave Rubin 60 points and an insurmountable five-point lead over second-placed Spartak Moscow with one game remaining.
"This title means much more for us than the first," Rubin captain Sergei Semak told reporters.
"We had to fight probably three times harder than last year. This time our main rivals were chasing us to the very end," added Russian international Semak in reference to last year's crown that was won with three games to spare.
"We also had to prove that last year's win was no fluke. We showed a great team spirit and comradeship."
Rubin will have little time to celebrate their triumph, however, as they host Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kiev in a Champions League Group F clash on Tuesday.
Spartak secured their fourth runners-up finish in five years and a place in the Champions League next year despite a dramatic 3-2 defeat by city rivals CSKA in a Moscow derby.
Spartak conceded the winning goal in the 89th minute when their goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanayev spilled an easy shot by Tomas Necid over the line. It was Dzhanayev's second costly blunder in two matches after he also let the ball into his own goal in a 2-1 defeat at Krylya Sovietov Samara two weeks ago.
Spartak went ahead 1-0 thanks to a seventh-minute penalty by Brazil international Alex but allowed their bitter rivals to come back with two goals in the space of four minutes through Russia playmaker Alan Dzagoyev and Czech striker Necid.
Spartak's Brazilian striker Welliton made it 2-2 with his 21st league goal of the season midway through the second half before Necid scored his second a minute from time to give CSKA the points.
The win allowed CSKA to move into fifth place on 49 points, a point ahead of city rivals FK Moscow, who suffered a surprise 2-0 home defeat to struggling Spartak Nalchik.
Zenit stayed third on 51 points, level with Lokomotiv, who beat city rivals Dynamo 2-0 in another Moscow derby to take fourth spot.
At the other end of the table, Kuban Krasnodar and Rostov will battle in the season's finale next Sunday to avoid relegation along with bottom club Khimki, whose fate was sealed a month ago.comments