Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dynamo 1-1 Zenit: Visitors take undeserved point

Dynamo thoroughly outplayed Zenit today, but were robbed by Aleksandr Kerzhakov's header with the last touch of the game.

Dynamo put out an entirely unsurprising 4-2-3-1, with Luke Wilkshire replacing Nikita Chicherin as Dan Petrescu's only change from the side that drew with Krasnodar last week. Meanwhile, Luciano Spalletti put out a somewhat surprising lineup, with a front three composed of debutant Oleg Shatov and two left wingers in Danny and Andrei Arshavin. The two alternated throughout the first half, yet Arshavin was arguably the more central of the two.

Neither side opened the match particularly well, but Dynamo had the first chance of the match as Fyodor Smolov headed a perfectly weighted Balazs Dzsudzsak cross wide of the far post in just the 5th minute. Six minutes later, it was Zenit with a chance as Christian Ansaldi sent a low cross for Roman Shirokov, who was fresh off a hat-trick in Portugal on Wednesday, however Dynamo keeper Roman Berezovski got to the ball first and prevented a scoring opportunity. Next up was Dzsudzsak, who unleashed a long range shot that Yuri Lodygin only barely held, before Denisov unleashed another minutes later that also challenged the keeper. There was only one more chance for either side before the break, as Lodygin was called into action yet again, saving well at the feet of Alan Kasaev while Nicolas Lombaerts blocked Artur Yusupov's following effort.

football formationsOnly one change was made at the interval, as Spalletti shifted to a more conventional approach, replacing the ineffective Arshavin with Aleksandr Kerzhakov, a decision that would eventually prove to be the right one. Dynamo came out of the blocks on fire, and before long Dzsudzsak had put them in front from a good shot that took a deflection off the back of Lombaerts. The hosts then became content to hold onto possession and sit deep, launching the occasional attack forward, but coming to nothing for the most part. Finally, substitute Vladimir Dyadyun had a good chance, but once again Lodygin made an excellent save. Zenit immediately sent the ball up the other end and the ball fell loose in Dynamo's box, however no one was able to apply a finish. Dzsudzsak went head to head again with Lodygin in the first minute of stoppage time, but the keeper came out on top once more, and his efforts were repaid up the other end when Shirokov flicked the ball onto Kerzhakov, who finished coolly with an excellent diving header. Dynamo were punished despite being the better team for the majority, as Zenit pulled a draw out of their hats with literally the final touch of the game.

Man of the Match: Yuri Lodygin
Lodygin was on spectacular form as he went one on one with Dynamo's forwards and came out on top time after time. He was unlucky to concede off a deflection, but performed admirably considering his defenders left him to do much of their work.

Honourable Mentions:
Balazs Dzsudzsak - For most of the match, he was Dynamo's only forward offering anything going forward. His goal was somewhat lucky, but he would have scored had it not been for Lodygin's fantastic performance.
Roman Berezovski - Played well, yet was overshadowed by Lodygin's performance at the other end.

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