Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week 2 summary of Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia

Week two of 2010, Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia campaign got underway with Spartak Nalchik claiming a 2-1 victory over Alania Vladikavkaz in a Caucasus Derby. The match served testament to the excitement of Russian football across the country as supporters from both sides packed Spartak Stadium in a highly vocal display.

Anxious to impress their home supporters after a disappointing nil draw to Anzhi Makhachkala, Nalchik went on the attack early. After forcing a top-shelf save out of Alania Vladikavkaz goalkeeper Dmitri Khomich at the twenty-first minute, fireworks in the stadium erupted two minutes later Nalchik took the lead. Getting on the end of a loose ball, Aleksandr Shchanitsyn fought off Georgi Bazayev before scoring his first goal in the top flight of Russian football with a dipping drive from beyond area into the back of the net. Nalchik continued to the press with youngster Nikita Malyarov shining. Four minutes shy of the half-hour mark Kazbek Geteriev whipped in a free kick to the back post that Vladimir Dyadyun narrowly missed with his header that went just a smidgen over the crossbar. To the delight of their travelling supporters, Alania stirred and came close to levelling a minute later as a corner from the right rattled around in the box before a blocked effort was cleared to safety. Yuri Krasnozhan's side continued to shine and just before the break went up 2-0 as Gogita Gogua latched onto a loose ball, feigned an effort twice before sending his drive past the outstretched reaches of the Alania goalkeeper to the bottom left corner of the net.

Nalchik showed no let-up after the break, narrowly missing putting the match out of reach only due to the work of Alania 'keeper Dmitri Khomich. After a number of chances came up empty, the visitors brought the match to within a single strike as Dzhambulad Bazaev converted from the spot after Vladimir Kisenkov was adjudged a penalty. Despite their efforts, Vladimir Shevchuk’s side were unable to level and match concluded with Spartak Nalchik claiming a 2-1 victory in the Caucasus.

Amkar Perm 1 Anzhi Makhachkala 0
In the opening match on Saturday afternoon, Amkar Perm lodged its first win of the campaign as they defeated visiting Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0. Coming off their unfortunate opening week loss to CSKA Moskva Rashid Rakhimov’s side had something to prove to their home supporters and they did not disappoint with a dominating, if not disciplined, display. Though the Red-Blacks dominated for long stretches of the match, the hosts who posed the first serious threat as Andrey Streltsov latched onto a long cross on the right channel before working his way into the area and firing a left-footed effort a few metres wide of the near post. Six minutes shy of the break, Makhachkala's Mahir Shukurov received a yellow for a stiff challenge Zahari Sirakov and after having words with the match-day referee saw a red pulled out. Forced to play a man down, the visitors did well to maintain pressure but with sixteen minutes remaining in the day Amkar finally broke through as Georgi Peev's cross from the right into the box was flicked on to the back post by Josip Knežević where Ivan Cherenchikov, controlled with his chest before volleying into the net. The balance of the match saw Amkar resourceful in protecting the lead and without further incident claimed the full three points with a 1-0 victory.

Terek Grozny 1 Rostov 1
Terek Grozny's home debut new campaign was spoiled by Rostov as they played to a 1-1 draw, honours even. With a sunny late winter backdrop, the Chechen side looked confident after last week’s victory over Sibir Novosibirsk. The celebratory fan-fare prior to the match, gave way to a superb, if not dominating performance. Four minutes after the opening whistle, Shamil Asildarov continued to his stunning goal-scoring run that started late last year with Spartak Nalchik. The twenty-six year-old striker notched his second goal of the year after being played through with a brilliant pass by Rizvan Utsiyev and sending his effort past Rostov goalkeeper Dejan Radić from twelve metres. The start confirmed Grozny's superb potential but following the early marker, they possessed the style but not the substance to add to the lead. Grozny had many opportunities to build upon the lead, including a Dmitri Yatchenko's seeing eye pass that this time the ‘keeper foiled Shamil Asildarov. That said, Rostov made the best of their rare opportunities and with nine minutes remaining in regulation time, Igor Lebedenko sent a cross into the box the was partially cleared to the left side of the area where Mersudin Ahmetović volleyed the ball to the opposite corner of the net to level the contest. In the hunt for the victory, Grozny manager Anatoly Baidachny immediately summoned Zaur Sadayev in for Maurício but the winning mark was not forthcoming and the match concluded as a 1-1 draw, honours even.

Sibir Novosibirsk 1 Saturn Moskovskaya 1
Sibir Novosibirsk put forth a superb effort with a 1-1 draw with Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast in Ramenskoe. Coming off last week's loss to Terek Grozny, Sibir Novosibirsk manager Igor Kriushenko summoned veterans Aleksandr Shulenin, Aleksandr Degtyaryov, Tomáš Vychodil and Arūnas Klimavičius into the line-up. From the opening whistle, the Siberian's took the simple, yet effective approach of out-working their hosts. Denying any advances by Saturn, Siber took the shock 1-0 lead a minute into added-time before the break as Alexey Medvedev, at the back post, headed Tomáš Čížek's cross from the left flank into the net.

Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast manager Andrey Gordeev clearly had something to say to his side during the break, as they were a different unit from the re-start. Summoning veteran, Martin Jakubko, formerly of FC Moskva, into the proceedings, Saturn began to carve out openings. With Andrei Karyaka and Denis Boyarintsev at the wheel of the Saturn attack, Sibir 'keeper Wojciech Kowalewski earned full marks by keeping the hosts at bay. After stopping Saturn's Benoît Angbwa close range header, the Siberian goalkeeper was finally beaten with seventeen minutes remaining in regulation time as Aleksei Ivanov lodged his second goal of the early campaign as, at the back post, he headed Denis Boyarintsev's free kick from the right to level the match. With thirteen minutes remaining, Aleksandr Makarenko received his second yellow and like the opening week, Sibir finished the day a man down. Saturn pressed for the winner as the match was completely a one-way street in the remaining time and though Aleksei Ivanov came within a whisper of scoring, the match ended as a 1-1 draw, honours even.

Lokomotiv Moskva 3 Kryliya Sovetov 0
In the final match on Saturday afternoon of week two, Yuriy Semin’s Lokomotiv Moskva devastated visiting Kryliya Sovetov 3-0. After last week’s late collapse to Rubin Kazan, it was clear the "People's Coach" had ordered up a response. With Dmitri Torbinski back into the starting eleven, after serving a suspension that carried over from last year, Lokomotiv went on the attack early and completely dominated their visitors. Attacks came quick and often and though finishing was off, with once again Dramane Traoré unable to close a number of fine efforts it was only time until the Muscovite's took the lead.

After a scoreless opening half, Kryliya manager Yuriy Gazzaev had to be pleased that his side somehow managed to keep the match deadlocked. However, that changed within a quarter-hour as Lokomotiv erupted with three rapid-fire goals. Four minutes after the restart, Aleksandr Budanov was adjudged a penalty for bringing down a Lokomotiv man in the area and the spot was pointed to. New arrival from Dinamo Kiev Oleksandr Aliyev, stepped up and without a splinter of doubt drove the ball to the back of the net. The Samaran's problems grew only as four minutes later Renat Yanbayev was pulled down in the area and once again, Lokomotiv stepped to the spot. On this occasion Dmitri Sychev, who otherwise shone brightly through the match, pounded the ball in to give Lokomotiv the 2-0 lead. Three minutes later, Ukrainian international Oleksandr Aliyev demonstrated his notable set piece abilities as from a free kick he hammed the ball over the wall before dipping into the net. With the match effectively over, the complexion of the match changed and though the visitors did well going forward they were unable to break through as Lokomotiv Moskva claimed the 3-0 victory.

Spartak Moskva 1 Zenit Saint Petersburg 1
Sunday afternoon in the Rosgosstrakh Championship of Russia opened with the bitter Russian Derby, with Zenit Saint Petersburg scoring a late goal to play bitter rivals Spartak Moskva to a 1-1 draw at Petrovski Stadium.

After a disappointing opening week, which saw they lose to lose to Dinamo, Spartak came out the aggressor of the two. Without the services of Cristian Maidana, Martin Stranzl and Nikola Drinčić to injury, along with Aleksandr Sheshukov under suspension, Spartak manager Valeriy Karpin summoned teen phenom Pavel Yakovlev, Renat Sabitov, Marek Suchý and Ari into the starting eleven. The opening quarter-hour saw the hosts overrun as Spartak surged forward against Zenit that was clearly on its back-heels. After an Ibson effort rasped off the right post, Spartak went out in front 1-0 at the thirteenth minute, initiated from an Alex from the left. The former Internacional sent his dangerous effort into the box that Zenit 'keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev tried to parry but got tangled up with Marek Suchý and the ball bounded just to the left of the goal. Welliton immediately sent it the back post through a maze of bodies and though Sergei Parshivlyuk may have got a touch on it before it crossed the line, the striker got credit for the score. Regardless of who scored, the shot across the bow was clear as Spartak had the lead. The goal seemed to wake Luciano Spalletti’s side, albeit slowly, who otherwise up to this point was terribly lacking going forward. Danny began to slowly turn the screw with flanking assaults and midway of the half he sent a cross from the right by-line that Spartak 'keeper Soslan Dzhanayev swatted away, only to see Roman Shirokov force him into a second save. From this point, the story of much of the match became Spartak's young keeper as he consistently denied Zenit's advances. Spartak narrowly missed doubling its lead at the thirty-fourth minute when Alex sent a free kick from distance but with a final swerve, it went a shade wide. Seven minutes shy of the break, Danny sent Vladimir Bystrov the ball from the left side of the area, via an overhead kick but the Russian international who had otherwise been unaccounted for, saw his close range effort saved by Soslan Dzhanayev and the match went to the break with Spartak holding the 1-0 lead.

At the break, Luciano Spalletti called upon Danko Lazović for Szabolcs Huszti as they looked for more production on the left and the Serbian international had an immediate impact. Injecting pace and vision into the Zenit attack, the hosts started to control the run of play. Fed through the left channel from Danny, he nearly opened his Zent scoring log two minutes after the restart but his effort sailed a fraction over the bar. Moments later, Zenit narrowly missed levelling as Roman Shirokov headed Danny's free kick wide right. In back and forth action, Spartak pressed for the second goal, with Zenit 'keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev making a brilliant stop of Welliton's effort. Seven minutes past the hour Vladimir Bystrov led a powerful surge down the centre of pitch before sending the ball to Danko Lazović, who then crossed for Aleksandr Kerzhakov at the back post but once again the Spartak 'keeper rose to the occasion to stop the chance. With ten minutes, remaining Alessandro Rosina replaced Vladimir Bystrov and as expected, the Petrovski faithful still have yet to welcome him wholly. Chances were sparse as time ticked down but with a minute remaining in regulation time, Zenit grabbed the equalizer to the delight of their voracious supporters. Coming from the free kick to the right of the box, former Torino-man Alessandro Rosina sent a low cross in the box that Belgian international Nicolas Lombaerts headed into the net. After four minutes of added-time, the match concluded as a 1-1 draw, honours even.

Dinamo Moskva 0 CSKA Moskva 0
In the final match on Sunday, Dinamo continued their impressive start to the campaign with nil draw against CSKA, in the Moscow Derby at Arena Khimki. The score does not do justice to the White-Blues’ play as they controlled the majority of match, dictated the proceedings and greatly nullified the Army-Men’s attacking quadrant of Alan Dzagoev, Miloš Krasić, Tomáš Necid and Keisuke Honda.

Coming of their victory over Spartak in the opening week, Dinamo manager Andrey Kobelev summoned Aleksandr Kokorin into the starting eleven and the nineteen-year-old attacker was brilliant from start to finish. Pushing CSKA on its heels early, Dinamo posed a number of viscous assaults including at the twentieth minute when Aleksandr Kokorin laid the ball back to Igor Semshov but the veteran’s effort went just a morsel wide from twelve metres. Not deterred, the White-Blues tore forward with Aleksandr Kokorin sending a cross from the left by-line into the box that Kirill Kombarov re-directed off the bar from close range. Slowly, Leonid Slutsky's side began to show more confidence and just after the hour young Russian international Alan Dzagoev was played through by Miloš Krasić but saw his ensuing effort swatted away by Dinamo 'keeper Vladimir Gabulov. Six minutes shy of the break, Aleksandr Kokorin was once again at the root of Dinamo's advances, as his left wing cross to the back post saw CSKA 'keeper Igor Akinfeev maintain the deadlock with a superb stop from the resulting chance.

After the break, tempo slowed as CSKA looked to cull Dinamo's free ranging attacks. At the hour mark, Tomáš Necid sent an effort wide after being played through, only to see a reprieve via a late offside call. Quickly thereafter, Pavel Mamayev entered for Alan Dzagoev, who had lodged nearly nine kilometres at this stage. The Army-Men pushed forward with Miloš Krasić in a promising run but Vladimir Granat, who had just entered for Edgaras Česnauskis, made a brilliant tackle to halt his efforts. Pavel Mamayev's impact was quick as he sent a tantalizing cross into the box from the left wing that Tomáš Necid headed narrowly wide. Dinamo pushed back with Igor Akinfeev rising to the occasion as he defended an attacking onslaught following Luke Wilkshire's corner from the right. In the final ten minutes, Mr. Slutsky called Guilherme and Elvir Rahimić into the fray but Dinamo's resolute defending thwarted their efforts and the match concluded as a nil draw.

Still to play in a rare Monday afternoon contest, defending champions Rubin Kazan visit Tom Tomsk.

Prepared by J. Davies
©Joga Bonito Renegade Style, a division of Renegade Style Productions, 2010.
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