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Eto'o blames Russian pitches for goal drought

By AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian big spenders Anzhi Makhachkala's star Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o has blamed the poor state of the country's pitches for a goal drought that has seen him fail to score in the last five games.

Eto'o, who signed for Anzhi last year from Inter Milan in a reported $27.9-million deal, last hit the back of the net with a penalty on November 27 and his last goal in open play dates back to November 5.

"For me the most important thing is that we play on good pitches. Then the goals will come," Eto'o was quoted as saying by the Sport Express daily after Sunday's goalless draw with CSKA.

"The Russian league is a good championship but as for the pitches... It's hard to play on such pitches," he said. "On good pitches we can keep up with anyone."

Russia is emerging from a long winter and the last weeks have seen pitches in provincial cities turned into quagmires by belting rain and wet snow.

The Russian Premier League, which has attracted a galaxy of talent to the big clubs over the last years, has repeatedly vowed that improving the quality of the pitches is a major priority.

"On a bad pitch it's hard to be a good artist," said Eto'o. "Everyone is only going to win if the pitches get better."

Anzhi are currently only seventh in the Russian Premier League but its billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov has huge ambitions for the future under legendary Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.

Officially based in the insurgency-plagued Caucasus region of Dagestan, Anzhi trains in Moscow for security reasons and only flies into Makhachkala for home games.

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