Monday, April 6, 2009

Summary of Week three of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week three of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia continued with a exciting series of matches, including a number of surprises.

On Saturday FC Moskva and defending champions Rubin Kazan played to a scoreless draw. Although neither side was able to break through it was an absolutely brilliant match as the Citizens certainly played with a passion that naturally started with a moment of silence in respect for Vladimir Fedotov's passing. Despite being outmatched by the defending champions and without Aleksandr Sheshukov and Dacosta Goore, Miodrag Božović Muscovite's were committed in their defending. The match marked the debut of nineteen year-old defender Gia Grigalava for the Citizens with highly positive results. Late efforts by Mosckva came close to snatching the victory but it was not to be and the match ended without a mark.

Terek Grozny looks keen to make a run at a European spot as they defeated Dinamo Moskva 1-0. Veteran Timur Dzhabrailov showed he still has a lot to give Grozny as he netted the winner thirteen minutes. After a foul on Blagoy Georgiev, the former Slavia Sofia man sent a free kick in that the veteran powered in. After being unable to find the needed venom to break through Grozny defenders, Andrey Kobelev called upon young striker Fyodor Smolov but unfortunately he left a few minutes later with an injury.

Jürgen Röber's Alien's earned their first win of the year as Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast defeated Kuban Krasnodar 2-1 with veteran Dmitri Kirichenko scoring twice. Dramane Traoré leveled the match for Krasnodar's Cossacks three minutes after Dmitri Kirichenko opened the scoring at the half hour. However the veteran goal-scorer left no doubts as he found the winner four minutes before the hour.

Photo Credit: Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast

On Sunday Zenit Saint Petersburg overwhelmed Tom' Tomsk 3-0. Weighted down with player fatigue on international duty, the match was slow in play prior to the break. However with a final push after the break Fernando Meira, formerly of Galatasaray and VfB Stuttgart, notched his first goal for Zenit as he re-directed Viktor Fayzulin's corner in. Russian international Igor Denisov made it 2-0 only five minutes later as he latched onto a poorly cleared ball and sent it to the back of the net. After an outstanding week for Russia, Konstantin Zyryanov set up the final goal with a powerful forty-metre run before sliding the ball to Fatih Tekke to close out from six metres with eight minutes remaining.

Following the match, Fernando Meira said of his first goal for Zenit:

"I am very happy, that I scored my first goal for new team in the third match, but would like to note, that for me it is much more important, that we managed to keep a shut-out in defense and grab the final victory. Of course it is cool, that I scored the opener in the game. But I always considered team's overall success in the match as a common success. My goal was just an episode, which let my team take three points from Tomsk."

Lokomotiv Moskva notched its first win of the year in a gritty, tough 2-1 victory over Krylya Sovetov. Challenges were harsh as both sides know they are capable of European spot. Belarusian international Timofei Kalachev gave Krysy the lead two minutes before the half hour only to see Lokomotiv storm back after the break. Oleg Kuzmin (Олег Кузьмин) who made the cross-town switch from FC Moskva this winter leveled the match ten minutes after the break. After a controversial call pulled Jan Koller's goal off for Krysy, Tomislav Dujmović scored with three minutes remaining to give Lokomotiv the 2-1 victory.

CSKA Moskva's disappointing start under Zico continued with a scoreless draw to Amkar Perm. For much of the match Amkar controlled the run of play and only the stubborn back line lead by Vasili Berezutski and Sergei Ignashevich. The Army-Men were further plagued with the sending off of Lithuanian Deividas Šemberas late and were spent the later stages holding off Amkar. The match raised further questions of Zico's tactical lineup as Alan Dzagoev was left out of the starting eleven and did not enter, despite being fully-fit

After a difficult start to the season Michael Laudrup's Spartak Moskva found the winning elixir as they defeated Spartak Nalchik 2-0. Far beyond the scoring marks of the match was the return of Denis Boyarintsev to Spartak. Entering late to the unwavering support of Luzhniki Stadium since returning from Shinnik Yaroslavl the thirty-one year old midfielder looked comfortable in his return home. Spartak's winning goal came a minute before the break as Alex with Welliton doubling the margin four minutes after the restart.

Finally on Friday the weeks matches started with a shocking upset as Rostov defeated Khimki 1-0 as former Torpedo Moskva striker Igor Lebedenko scored the winner with fifteen minutes remaining.

Zenit Saint Petersburg 3 2 1 0 6 2 7
Terek Grozny 3 2 1 0 2 0 7
Kryliya Sovetov 3 2 0 1 3 2 6
Dinamo Moskva 3 2 0 1 4 3 6
Rubin Kazan 3 1 2 0 3 0 5
Lokomotiv Moskva 3 1 2 0 4 3 5
Rostov 3 1 2 0 2 1 5
CSKA Moskva 3 1 1 1 3 1 4
Spartak Moskva 3 1 1 1 3 2 4
Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast 3 1 0 2 3 6 3
Tom' Tomsk 3 1 0 2 1 4 3
Kuban Krasnodar 3 1 0 2 2 5 3
Amkar Perm 3 0 2 1 0 1 2
FC Moskva 3 0 2 1 0 1 2
Khimki 3 0 1 2 3 5 1
Spartak Nalchik 3 0 1 2 0 3 1