MOSCOW, May 12 (R-Sport) - CSKA Moscow put one hand on the Russian Premier League trophy Sunday with a 4-1 defeat of Lokomotiv Moscow.
Leonid Slutsky's side will be crowned champions for the first time in seven years if holders Zenit St. Petersburg are beaten later at FC Rostov, or if CSKA outdo their rivals in either of the two remaining games thereafter.
"There were nerves, and we still have them. We still have to take the last steps and they're always the hardest to take. But the guys are capable of taking them," Slutsky said of the run-in in televised comments.
Two goals from CSKA's irrepressible Brazilian star Vagner Love did most of the damage in the first half on Sunday, aided by some catastrophic Lokomotiv defending.
The 28-year-old evaded two botched tackles to fire into the top corner from the edge of the penalty box on six minutes, and pounced on Dario Kresic's spill from Keisuke Honda's drive just before half time.
CSKA's Nigerian forward Ahmed Musa had slid home Alan Dzagoev's low cross between Vagner Love's double.
Lokomotiv had faint hope when Dmitry Tarasov stumbled through the CSKA defense to prod into the corner on 55 minutes, but substitute Seydou Doumbia swiveled and shot to make it 4-1 on 74 minutes and seal the result.
Slaven Bilic's side remain in 10th on 40 points, now out of the running for European football.
It could have been much worse, much earlier for Bilic's side.
Moments after hitting his opener, Vagner Love danced through the Lokomotiv defense again, but he skewed his shot and the danger was cleared.
Keisuke Honda then blazed over from 12 yards as the ball hit a divot. Musa had a biting shot saved by Kresic at the start of the second half before Tarasov brought Lokomotiv back into the reckoning.
The revival was mercilessly snuffed out, however, as Doumbia, the league's top scorer last year, started and finished a sweeping move just seven minutes after replacing Dzagoev.
In other RPL play this weekend, Alania Vladikavkaz were relegated straight back down to the second division after losing 1-0 at FC Volga; and FC Kuban moved a step closer to a first-ever European campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of struggling Amkar Perm.
Dynamo Moscow rescued a 1-1 draw at home to FC Krasnodar through Alexander Kokorin's goal to climb to fourth place and stretch an unbeaten run to 14 games; Rubin Kazan eked out a 2-1 win over Mordovia Saransk; and Krylya Sovetov held Spartak Moscow to a 1-1 draw.