Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dynamo 4-2 CSKA: Embarrassing capitulation rules CSKA out of title defence

CSKA have given up a two goal lead to lose 4-2 to Dynamo in the latest Moscow derby of the 2013-14 RPL season.

Both sides set up with their first choice lineups (see diagram), so there isn't really much to say about surprise inclusions or players missing due to injury/suspension. The only thing of note is that Alexei Kozlov made his Dynamo debut after joining from Kuban Krasnodar over the winter break, but I'll get to him a little later.

The match was very back and forth in the opening ten minutes, with Dynamo having two good chances and CSKA only being stopped by a slightly over-hit Seydou Doumbia pass. It wasn't long before Doumbia made up for his minor error as, in only the 12th minute, he skinned three Dynamo players and fired home a rocket of a shot from the edge of the box to give the visitors an early lead. Dynamo appeared to have the wind taken out of their sails by this, and Georgi Gabulov had to endure a flurry of CSKA chances over the following quarter of an hour, denying Zoran Tosic twice. However, things got even worse for the hosts as their brand new signing, Alexei Kozlov, pulled up short after challenging Ahmed Musa for the ball and had to be replaced. CSKA continued their attack following Kozlov's injury and came close through Alan Dzagoev, but were denied yet again by Gabulov. Gabulov couldn't hold out forever though, and Doumbia managed to get his second in the 43rd minute. Dzagoev beat two Dynamo defenders in the box and then sent the ball to the Ivorian, who finished perfectly with the outside of his boot to double CSKA's lead.

Halftime saw no personnel changes for either side, but Dynamo came out after the break looking significantly less incompetent than they had before the interval and as a result, they pulled one back with the first major chance of the half. The hosts built up play down the left flank and Yuri Zhirkov sent in a cross, which Kevin Kuranyi managed to get to first and head home from the edge of the 6-yard box. It wasn't long before Kuranyi had another header on target, but this time Akinfeev was able to reach it at full stretch to deny the German. For a few brief moments, CSKA looked like they were back on top as Georgi Schennikov stormed into Dynamo's box, beating four opposition players before being stopped by an excellent Christopher Samba tackle. Samba then continued his great performance by getting up the end and scoring the equaliser from a Marko Lomic cross. However, he suffered a head clash with Aleksandr Kokorin in the process of scoring, forcing him to come off and be replaced by Leandro Fernandez. Already staring at an embarrassing result, CSKA decided that conceding two goals wasn't enough, so only four minutes later they conceded a third, this time through Zhirkov, who controlled a Balazs Dzsudzsak cross and slotted it home. However, the goal arguably shouldn't have stood as Kokorin kicked Mario Fernandes in the face as the cross came in; an act which should have been given as a foul. It was only another six minutes before CSKA conceded again, this time thanks to a huge Igor Akinfeev error. The CSKA captain tried to lob the ball to Fernandes, yet failed to get it over Zhirkov who, all too easily, took the ball over Akinfeev and finished coolly for his second of the night.

Neither side really had any major chances for the rest of the match and it ended at 4-2. Dynamo's comeback from two goals down is an absolutely excellent demonstration of their class and attitude, whereas CSKA's utter capitulation is one of the most embarrassing defeats that the club has suffered in years. The champions now face an uphill battle to retain their title, sitting 6 points back from joint leaders Zenit and Lokomotiv, who both have a game in hand.

- I really have no words for CSKA's awful collapse. They were dominant for most of the first half, only to fall apart after the interval. A real game of two halves.
- This defeat is unfortunately going to overshadow the excellent performances of Seydou Doumbia and Alan Dzagoev, who ran everything for CSKA in the first half. In particular, their combination on the second goal was beautiful.
- On that note, Doumbia and Dzagoev really deserve better wingers than Tosic and Musa. Tosic is ridiculously inconsistent and Musa appears to have lost a touch of the pace he relies on so much.
- Luke Wilkshire and Leandro Fernandez did surprisingly well after coming in for the injured Alexei Kozlov and Christopher Samba respectively.
- A lot of people are going to disagree with me over this, but I think other than that big error, Igor Akinfeev was on superb form. He had no chance to stop any of the other three goals and made several superb saves earlier in the match.

Man of the Match: Yuri Zhirkov
football formationsZhirkov was a dangerous threat down Dynamo's left all night and ultimately got the best of the out of form Mario Fernandes. Zhirkov scored the final two goals for Dynamo to win and kill off the game, but also provided an assist for Kuranyi's goal with an excellent cross. It was also his cross that produced Kuranyi's second chance that was saved by Akinfeev.

Honourable Mentions:
Seydou Doumbia - Scored two fantastic goals to put CSKA up and continued his performance with some excellent skill throughout the night. His passing was a little astray though, over-hitting several passes for Ahmed Musa.
Alan Dzagoev - Bossed Dynamo's midfield for much of the first half and had an excellent assist for Doumbia's second goal. Dzagoev dropped deeper than usual this game and controlled the tempo of play. On another night, this would've easily been a man of the match performance.
Christopher Samba - Worked hard in defence and did well to get up the other end and score the equaliser. His match was unfortunately ended by that head clash, but he certainly deserves recognition for the time he did spend on the pitch.

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