Rebounding from last years highly disappointing results, CSKA Moskva President Evgeniy Giner ensured the Army-Men were well equipped for the coming campaign as they made a number of notable additions during the winter transfer season. Though few can deny the attacking firepower of CSKA, in the opening match of the 2010 Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign, the Army-Men fell short of expectations and were fortunate to capture a 1-0 victory over Amkar Perm at the Arena Khimki.
Amkar Perm manager Rashid Rakhimov, deployed his side with a five man midfield, maintaining a tight, compact defence and did extremely well at squashing CSKA advances. The Army-Men, who had a fully fit Alan Dzagoev back at the wheel of the attack controlled long stretches of the match but were unable to break into the final third and offer up dangerous chances. In the fourth minute of play, CSKA won a free kick but new man Keisuke Honda thundered his effort into the wall and for the next quarter hour, Amkar soaked up pressure with ease. At the nineteenth minute CSKA began to show some inspiration on the left flank as Miloš Krasić tried to play Alan Dzagoev through, though his pass was too heavy and shortly thereafter Mark González's cross from the left wing cross was beyond the outstretched foot of Tomáš Necid. Near the half hour, Amkar threatened modestly but CSKA 'keeper Igor Akinfeev easily turned aside those advances and the match went to the break without a score.
After the restart, the match was grinding down slowly as Amkar was satisfied with absorbing pressure and CSKA, with all its firepower, was unable to turn the key. CSKA was clearly getting frustrated with their inability to break the deadlock and Alan Dzagoev, who was yellow-carded in the opening-half due to poor challenge, was fortunate not to be sent off. Four minutes past the hour, Tomáš Necid, who as of this stage was well controlled by Amkar, received a yellow-card for a obvious handball when he re-directed a Miloš Krasić free kick into the net. With four minutes left in regulation time Pavel Mamayev toppled Georgi Peev, resulting in a shoving match and both players plus Vasili Berezutski who joined in on the fracas, shown yellow-cards for the lack of discipline.. With match seemingly headed for a draw, CSKA struck gold in the second minute of added-time as Guilherme, who had entered for Mark González at the eightieth minute, got on the end of a loose ball at the top left side of the area and unleashed his effort that bounded off the ankles of Martin Kushev to the right. Coming directly to Tomáš Necid, the young striker immediately drove the ball towards the goal but after careening off Mitar Novaković, came to the back post where Keisuke Honda volleyed the ball in for the 1-0 lead. Finally, after six minutes of added-time, the match concluded with CSKA Moskva claiming the full three points with a 1-0 victory.
For CSKA, the victory will be received with trepidation. While the three points are naturally welcomed, there are many questions posed of the high-flying attack that was so easily grounded. Given that FIFA has agreed to push back the transfer deadline for Russian clubs to 8 April, the question is whether Evgeniy Giner will look to tinker with his line-up or give them more time to gel.
Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
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