Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lokomotiv 1-4 CSKA: Heavy scoreline belies tight Moscow derby

CSKA Moscow triumphed 4-1 over Moscow rivals Lokomotiv, but the match was much closer than the scoreline showed.

CSKA started in their typical 4-2-3-1 formation, but the continued inclusion of Ahmed Musa forced Keisuke Honda into a position on the right of the pitch, although he often interchanged with Alan Dzagoev and Vagner Love on the right and in the centre respectively. Kirill Nababkin also returned to the side at the expense of Georgi Schennikov. Lokomotiv also started in a 4-2-3-1, although their personnel selection was entirely more baffling than that of CSKA. All of Dmitri Torbinski, Felipe Caicedo and Roman Pavlyuchenko failed to make the starting lineup, being inexplicably kept out by Aleskey Miranchuk, Victor Obinna and Dame N'Doye.

football formations
CSKA started strongly and had the most of the match's early chances, as Alan Dzagoev laid on a goal for Vagner Love in only the 6th minute to give the visitors an early lead. Lokomotiv were almost back level mere seconds later as Akinfeev could only parry Denis Glushakov's long range shot for Sergei Ignashevich to clear. Lokomotiv continued to press and came close a number of times in the next quarter of an hour, but were denied by the excellent Akinfeev time and time again. CSKA appeared content to sit deep and counter-attack and the keys to the majority of their chances were Alan Dzagoev and Vagner Love, both of which laid on chances for Keisuke Honda, who contrived to send both over the crossbar. Despite Lokomotiv's pressure, CSKA found a second in the 25th minute when Dzagoev sent a low cross to Musa, who couldn't really miss from a yard out to put CSKA up 2-0. Down two goals, Lokomotiv were still not content to give up and continued pressing, as Tarasov came close in the 39th minute, but was once again denied by Akinfeev. As they finally looked to be getting close to pulling back a goal, Lokomotiv suffered the ultimate sucker punch in the 43rd minute as Vagner Love pounced on Kresic's parry to put CSKA three goals to the good going into the break.

Slaven Bilic decided to shuffle the pack and made two changes at the half, introducing Felipe Caicedo and Dmitri Torbinski for Miranchuk and Glushakov and the improvement in the side was obvious in the early minutes of the second half. Caicedo saw a shot hit the post less than a minute after the interval, before Maicon fired narrowly wide mere moments later. However, it was not until the 54th minute that Lokomotiv found their way back into the match through Tarasov, as he latched onto a Caicedo pass and barged through 3 CSKA players before firing home low and to the left. Seeing the danger that Lokomotiv's pressing caused to his side's shape, Leonid Slutskiy uncharacteristically changed CSKA's shape to something of a narrow 4-3-1-2 (see diagram), with Doumbia coming on to condense the centre of the pitch. This change made an immediate difference, as CSKA countered well and Doumbia turned Taras Burlak inside out to score his third goal of the season in the 74th minute. It was only at this late stage that Lokomotiv looked down and out and CSKA finally took control in the final 10 minutes. A counter from N'Doye was simply too little too late and Lokomotiv slumped to an undeserved 4-1 loss at home.

Man of the Match: Vagner Love
Did well to lay on a goal for Seydou Doumbia and score one of his own. Quite frankly, one of the few bright spots for CSKA Moscow.

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