Saturday, November 23, 2013

CSKA 1-0 Spartak: CSKA capitalise on Rebrov blunder

Seydou Doumbia capitalised on an Artem Rebrov mistake to score the only goal in an exciting Moscow derby, the first of the weekend.

Both sides retained their typical 4-2-3-1 formations as the hosts made just one change from the side that beat Terek two weeks ago, with Mario Fernandes returning to action after six months out with a knee injury. Spartak saw more changes, with Joao Carlos returning to first team action in place of the suspended Tino Costa, allowing Rafael Carioca to push forward into his preferred defensive midfield role. Kim Kallstrom and Ariz Ozbiliz were also replaced in favour of Jose Jurado and Pavel Yakovlev respectively.

Neither side started the match particularly strongly and passing was sloppy in the opening minutes as possession changed hands rapidly early on, before the scoring opened in the 7th minute. A ball forward from Pontus Wernbloom prompted Artem Rebrov to come out and attempt to clear, but poor judgement meant that Doumbia got to the ball ahead of both Rebrov and Evgenni Makeev, tapping it up over them and slotting home coolly. It was a woeful error of judgement from Rebrov, however Makeev was also partially at fault for not dealing with the ball earlier. Despite going behind, it was Spartak who looked strongest as they pushed forward, but lacked the final ball into the box as Glushakov and Jurado struggled to create chances. Indeed, it was CSKA who had the next chance, when Zoran Tosic flicked the ball over Dmitri Kombarov and went one on one with Rebrov, who saved well and went some way to redeeming his earlier error. It was not until ten minutes later that Spartak finally got their chance when a Jurado free kick fell to Glushakov, whose shot was cleared off the line by Mario Fernandes. The most notable event of the remainder of the first half proved to be not a goal, but a foul on the verge of half time. Makeev was lucky not to be sent off for his challenge on Milanov, which led to a confrontation between players of both sides that the referee was able to manage and call half time.

football formationsCSKA came out firing after the break, and Keisuke Honda missed a simple chance within three minutes of the interval. Milanov broke through down the left and sent a perfect cross in, but instead of firing home, Honda took a touch away from goal and fired wide. It was a terrible effort at a point where the game could've been put beyond doubt. It was mere minutes later when Honda nearly made up for his miss, playing an excellent ball through to Doumbia, whose shot was blocked by Makeev. CSKA's following attack led to chances for all of Fernandes, Tosic, Milanov and Doumbia, yet none could find a way through to kill the match off. Nonetheless, they continued to push for a second goal and Wernbloom came close, heading the ball off the post from a Honda free kick. However, that proved to be the last big chance for CSKA, as Spartak forced themselves forwards in search of an equliser, with Jurado coming closest. Fifteen minutes from full time, he skipped through three challenges in the CSKA box before shooting straight at Akinfeev, who made a simple save. Following that chance, the match once again degenerated into a bunch of fouls and yellow cards, and from there the game fizzled out with CSKA taking the victory.

- Spartak completely dominated possession but struggled to create chances. Their wastefulness gave CSKA many opportunities to counter-attack and get up the other end, but the hosts too lacked the final touch for much of the match.
- Yura Movsisyan definitely looked like he wasn't at 100% following his injury against Zenit. He seemed rather slow on the sprint and struggled to get involved.
- I'm not sure Pavel Yakovlev did anything while he was on the pitch. I really can't advocate starting him over either Aras Ozbiliz or Kirill Kombarov with McGeady on the left.
- On the other hand, Georgi Milanov really grew into the match, especially in the second half. He was dominant down the left flank and his performance was crucial in pinning back Sergei Parshivlyuk.

Man of the Match: Mario Fernandes
Fernandes made his return from a knee injury that kept him out of action for six months, yet managed to look like he hadn't missed a second. He was very good going forward, completing a higher percentage of passes than any other starter on either team, but the moment that separated him from the rest of the bunch was his fantastic block and clearance on the goal line in the 27th minute.

Honourable Mentions:
Georgi Schennikov - Included for similar reasons to Fernandes, Schennikov was great going forward and solid at the back. Fernandes only edges this due to his fantastic block.

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