Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rubin 2-0 Lokomotiv: Excellent Rubin counter undoes defiant Lokomotiv

Lokomotiv looked the better side but were undone by the effective Rubin counter-attack that allowed the hosts to gain a 2-0 victory and move into fourth place in the Russian Premier League.

Lokomotiv's typical attacking 4-2-3-1 held possession against Rubin's similar formation for the majority of the first half, but the home side's more effective counter-attack provided the majority of the chances in a dull first period that was marked by poor refereeing more than anything else. The first incident of note came in the 10th minute, when a Jan Durica back pass was collected by Guilherme, however referee Vladimir Kazmenko missed the penalty claim despite the protests of Rubin's attackers. Dyadyun had a powerful shot saved by Guilherme before Karadeniz put a weak header at the visiting keeper. The 39th minute saw a weak free kick given on the edge of Lokomotiv's box after a soft challenge on Dyadyun by Jan Durica. Pablo Orbaiz's initial effort failed to make it past the wall, but the ball fell for Bibras Natkho, who put a strong low effort past Guilherme to give Rubin an arguably undeserved lead.

football formationsThe interval saw Victor Obinna replace Dmitri Tarasov, leaving Jan Tigorev as the sole central midfielder for the visitors. The risk paid off however, as Roman Pavlyuchenko came close three times in the opening ten mintues of the second period, only denied by the post and a superb Sergei Ryzhikov. Slaven Bilic decided to compress the game into the centre of the pitch with his substitutions as the half went on, a somewhat unwise decision considering the strength of Rubin's midfield and the fragility of its wings. Nonetheless, Lokomotiv continued pushing and almost saw an equaliser through a Pavlyuchenko bullet header in the 79th minute, but Ryzhikov once again denied the 31-year-old. Rubin finally applied the finishing touch to their victory as Dyadyun sent a powerful shot past Guilherme on a rare home counter, leaving the match to finish at 2-0.

Slaven Bilic's bizarre substitutions once again left Lokomotiv struggling and extended their winless streak to four matches, with only one draw coming in that sequence. Rubin executed Kurban Berdyev's counter-attacking game plan perfectly and the Kazan side have come into contention for Champion's League places in recent weeks.

Man of the Match: Sergei Ryzhikov
Ryzhikov was barely called into action in the first period, but really proved his value following the interval, denying Roman Pavlyuchenko four times and holding onto an excellent Dame N'Doye header to keep yet another clean sheet. There is a reason Rubin have the second best defence in the Russian Premier League. That reason is Sergei Ryzhikov.

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