No tactical surprises
A few days before the start of the 28th round of the Russian championship, Spartak was considered the favorite in the derby with CSKA. And this is despite a winless series of three matches in the RPL and the loss of a number of important performers, including suspended Danil Prutsev and Daniil Denisov, as well as Nail Umyarov, who continues to recover from a serious injury. However, closer to the beginning of the meeting, the odds began to take on a more logical form. And this process could not be prevented even by the absence of Alexis Duarte in the starting lineup, who has recently gained the status of the most criticized player of the red and white.
To replace the disgraced Paraguayan, the captain of Spartak Georgy Dzhikiya, who was paired with Nikita Chernov in the center of defense, was called. At the same time, Ruslan Litvinov was also at the core, in connection with which a logical question arose, according to which scheme will Guillermo Abascal decide to play - with three or two central defenders? And as the first minutes showed, failures in meetings with Zenit and Khimki did not convince the Spaniard, who again relied on the duet.
CSKA, on the other hand, came out in its usual combination, but Vladimir Fedotov almost had to make adjustments in the second minute. In a single combat with an opponent, Willian Rocha fell unsuccessfully on the lawn of the Otkritie Bank Arena and injured his knee. However, later he came to his senses, remained on the field and became one of the main protagonists of the confrontation.
Possession of Spartak and CSKA's counterattacks
As in the match of the first round, CSKA did not try to take the ball away from Spartak and easily resigned itself to the fact that he would have to act as the second number. Abascal's wards took possession of the territorial advantage and began to perform the same combination over and over again. With a pass to the flank, they forced not only the lateral, but also the extreme of the three central defenders to pull into this zone, after which they tried to break through the stretched defensive line of the army team. And several times it bore fruit, and in the 21st minute it even allowed us to hit the goal. Mikhail Ignatov easily dealt with Igor Akinfeev, but the linesman saw an offside position. Subsequently, this was confirmed by the video assistant, although it was extremely difficult to make a verdict based on the replay.
For comparison, there were much more reasons for canceling Anton Zabolotny's goal. He was clearly closer to the opponent's goal at the time of Fedor Chalov's strike, after which he worked perfectly on the finish. Therefore, this episode did not cause any particular difficulties for the VAR referees. But the Red-Blues themselves are unlikely to be very upset. Unlike the enemy, they regularly caught their counterparts on a collision course and took advantage of the lack of organization in the defense of Spartak. Despite the return of Dzhikiya, she looked vulnerable, especially the zone of the right half-flank, given to Daniil Khlusevich and Nikita Chernov. Only in the first half hour, it was repeatedly visited by Jesus Medina, who had a couple of chances to open an account.
Akinfeev's super pass and Promes' historic goal
Therefore, there was no reason to be surprised when CSKA still took the lead. And this happened thanks to two factors: Akinfeev's amazing pass for 50 meters and the sluggishness of the Spartak defenders. They moved far ahead, but not enough to create an artificial offside. As a result, Chalov responded to a long pass and threw the ball to Medina, who was moving in a parallel course. And it was not difficult for him to beat Alexander Selikhov. It is noteworthy that this time it was Fedor who was in the place of the left forward, while Jesus migrated to the right, finally confusing the defense of the hosts.
But if CSKA's goal was born as a result of a vertical attack, then Spartak, on the contrary, scored after a cross cross from the flank. And again, it was not without blatant inconsistency in defense. Three defenders of the guests could not decide who exactly would close the attackers of the hosts who came to the penalty area. As a result, Igor Diveev, albeit belatedly, opted for Alexander Sobolev, and Willian Rocha did not decide on his opponent. As a result, Quincy Promes found himself all alone, which neither the Brazilian nor Milan Gajic, who tried to insure him, had time to cover. The Dutchman irresistibly struck with his head and bypassed Yegor Titov, becoming the top scorer of the red-and-whites in the Russian championship.
The conflict between Sobolev and Roshi
In the second half, the teams remembered that the confrontation between Spartak and CSKA is considered one of the most emotional and tense in the history of Russian football. And since the level of the game could not confirm this, the opponents decided to do it differently. And the most active part in this was taken by Sobolev and Rocha, under the sign of the duel of which the first half of the second half passed.
With a difference of a few minutes, several bright collisions occurred between them at once. First, Sobolev, in his usual manner, "painted" a fall after a push from Roshi, and then greeted a hard foul on the Brazilian from Ignatov. He hit his counterpart's ankle with spikes and received a yellow card for the pad. But all this was just a prelude to what happened a little later.
The incident occurred in the CSKA penalty area. Sobolev and Rocha fought for the ball. The Brazilian defended it for his team, but failed to keep his balance and collapsed on the front border of the field. And the Russian immediately reacted to this, performing an indecent gesture that reminded him of Michael Jackson.
Surely everyone understood that such behavior of Sobolev would not go unnoticed. But few could have imagined that the chief referee Sergei Karasev would not only punish the Spartak striker with a yellow card, but also remove him from the field. The real shock was his decision to send Rosha to rest, although he did nothing criminal. Willian was guilty only of applauding the judging panel and urging them to turn to video replays, repeating Alexander's gesture.
Penalty kick against CSKA
The controversial episodes did not end there. And the most important of them happened in the last ten minutes of normal time. In the CSKA penalty area, Diveev, when trying to tackle, stepped on Zobnin's foot and gave grounds for the appointment of an 11-meter penalty. True, there were reservations. Even if the contact with the leg of the Spartak midfielder was not questioned, the fact that a second before he still played the ball could play in favor of the army man. And although initially Karasev pointed to the point, after going to the monitor, he changed the verdict.
But a minute later, the chief referee still allowed Spartak to shoot a penalty. Although the moment was no less ambiguous than the previous one. The reason for his appointment was a foul on Victor Moses, who stumbled upon two opponents, Victor Mendes and Ivan Oblyakov, while trying to get to the ball. And even though the fall of the Nigerian seemed too picturesque, and the contact with the Chilean's leg was insignificant, Karasev was adamant. Akinfeev deflected Promes' first shot, but failed to finish it off.
It seemed that numerous views of replays and an abundance of controversial episodes would force Karasev to compensate for at least ten minutes to regular time, but he unexpectedly limited himself to only six. And CSKA did not have enough of this to carry out at least a semblance of a dangerous attack. "Spartak" shockingly held the ending and snatched victory in the derby, regaining the chances of winning silver medals. Two rounds before the end, the Moscow teams are separated from each other by only one point.