Karpin's harsh statement
Matches in heavy snowfall can already be called a common occurrence for the RPL. In the 16th round, Baltika and Spartak played an extremely difficult meeting in Kaliningrad. A week later, despite heavy rainfall, CSKA and Rostov met in Moscow. On the day of the meeting, the capital was hit by a severe snowstorm.
Until the last moment, the players' appearance on the pitch was in question. According to media reports, the teams agreed to postpone the game to a day later, but the chief referee Rafael Shafeev, who, according to the regulations, made the final verdict, decided that it was possible to play.
As a result, Sunday's confrontation took place in not the most comfortable conditions. Already in the opening stages, Iranian Mohammad Mohebi, unaccustomed to such weather, committed a foul in his own penalty area on Abbosbek Fayzullayev, and Fedor Chalov converted a penalty. At the same time, the snow did not stop for a minute, and it was not possible to completely remove it from the lawn. On the other hand, workers with shovels cleared the lines of the penalty area and the sidelines right during the game. And Igor Akinfeev in one of the episodes tried to set the ball on a hill of snow, as they do in beach soccer with sand.
Those who were delighted with the arrival of the harsh Russian winter were Victor Mendez. In the second half, the Chilean finished off Chalov's excellent cross and scored his debut goal for the Army team. The Latino did not hide his joy and, running away, jumped right into a snowdrift. Moreover, even after the final whistle, he lay on the snow for a long time.
The Southerners, on the other hand, did not succeed in much of anything. To top it all off, Viktor Melekhin lost his nerve in injury time. The defender deliberately cleared the ball to Victor Davila after the whistle and received a direct red card. And Valery Karpin harshly criticized the decision to organize the match.
"There were no options to win today. Who got it, who succeeded, that's all. What kind of football?! What moron made the decision to play, what idiot? To see this action? I'll call it 'action', not like Mikhail Galaktionov, although it's better to use this word," the coach said indignantly during a flash interview.
Dynamo's third win in a row
The match between Dynamo and Rubin at the VTB Arena took place in much more comfortable conditions. Although the frost in the capital on Monday only intensified, the snowfall stopped. And the field was prudently placed under a protective film and opened only shortly before the starting whistle.
It is symbolic that the author of the only goal was Konstantin Tyukavin, who a few days before extended his contract with the club until the summer of 2028. He chested in a cross from Dmitry Skopintsev from the flank. After the Russian interrupted the "dry" streak that lasted for almost three months, he is literally unstoppable. In the championship, he scored in the fifth meeting in a row and became the first player of the Blue-Whites in 23 years who managed to do so. In 2000, Rolan Gusev, now assisting Marcel Lička, produced the same successful segment.
Also, Tyukavin, at the age of 21 years and five months, crossed the bar of 25 goals in the RPL. At a younger age in the 600st century, only four people reached it: Jo, Alexander Kerzhakov, Fyodor Chalov and Alan Dzagoev. Finally, the striker broke Yuri Dupin's long streak without conceding a goal at the mark of almost <> minutes.
In the future, it was more likely that the Muscovites could increase the advantage in the score than Kazan could win back. Ihor Leschuk calmly chalked up his fourth shutout in this national championship. And Dynamo, having won the third victory in a row in the tournament, reduced the gap from Zenit to two points.
Spartak's second defeat in five days
But Spartak again failed to please its fans. Following the defeat to Orenburg in the Russian Cup, he lost to Akhmat in the championship. Grozny opened the scoring in the 35th minute. Bernard Berisha withstood a tough one-on-one with Ruslan Litvinov and made a wonderful pass with the outside of his foot to Hamid Agalarov. In turn, the forward managed to throw over Alexander Selikhov, who jumped out in front of him.
Immediately, a fight almost broke out in the technical area. For some reason, Kosovar jumped in a tackle in the direction of Guillermo Abascal. The Spaniard could not restrain himself and in response pushed the footballer to the turf, for which he saw a straight red. The opponent's striker got off with a yellow card. Later, he explained his act as a provocation on the part of the coach. Allegedly, he called him a bad player several times. And at the end of the half, going to the dressing room, Miroslav Bogosavac and Quincy Promes did not share something. It was only by a miracle that the skirmish did not escalate into a mass brawl.
By this point, the Muscovites had restored the status quo thanks to an accurate shot by Anton Zinkovsky. But before the second half started, Svetoslav Kovachev put the hosts in front again. The guests had plenty of time to escape, but they didn't really create a single chance. The opponents demonstrated an amazing implementation, scoring twice with only three shots on target.
Along the way, they extended their unbeaten streak in meetings with the ten-time champions of Russia to four meetings. Abascal has never beaten a team from the Chechen Republic. But it is much more important that Akhmat won the first victory in the national championship in three months, and this will probably save Miroslav Romashchenko from resignation.
Successful substitution of Ilić
Also, according to the results of the 17th round, there was another change of the leader in the table. Zenit lost to Lokomotiv, and Krasnodar took advantage of it. However, the victory over Orenburg was not easy for the southerners. In the absence of the suspended John Córdoba, there was no one to finish attacks and cling to the ball in front. Alexander Koksharov, who was called to replace him, did not strike a single blow and won only one aerial challenge. On the other hand, Eduard Spertsyan worked for two and constantly forced Alexei Kenyaikin to come to the aid of his partners. The visitors' counterattacks looked no less dangerous. Before the break, Matvey Safonov made several saves.
However, in first-half stoppage time, luck smiled on the hosts. Moreover, it was Koksharov who played usefully, bringing Olakunle Olusegun one-on-one. The fast Nigerian easily evaded Kenyaikin, who was forced to bring him down in the penalty area. Spertsyan converted an 11-meter shot.
As soon as the teams returned to the field, David Deogracia's wards restored the balance. Stepan Hovhannisyan left no chance for Safonov from close range after a cross by Lucas Vera. But in the end, Vladimir Ivic's castling worked. In the 76th minute, the short substitute Ilzat Akhmetov calmly headed in Junior Alonso's cross from the edge of the penalty area.
Thus, the southerners once again proved themselves to be a home team. At home, they have not known defeats in the RPL for 15 matches, and for the first time since 2016 they have won five meetings in a row here.
Yezhov's miracle goal
It was not without difficulty that another contender for medals, Krylia Sovetov, pressed the outsider. In Sochi, the score remained a draw until the 71st minute. At the same time, the Samara team had little more opportunities to distinguish themselves than their rivals.
They were helped to tip the scales in their favor by a stunning header by Roman Yezhov. He is even more surprising when you consider that the midfielder is only 178 cm tall. After a cross from Glenn Bale, he shot almost from the edge of the penalty area into the far corner, catching Nikita Goilo on the countermove. It seemed that the footballer himself did not believe what had happened. Smiling happily, he threw up his hands in surprise and accepted congratulations from his teammates.
Shortly before the final whistle, the visitors also earned a penalty. Benjamin Garré took the chance and extended his scoring streak in the championship to three rounds. In total, he now has 15 points according to the "goal + pass" system (11 + 4) in 27 matches for Krylia in the RPL. Since 2009, no player on the team has reached this level so rapidly.
But Sochi fans have no reason to rejoice. The next day, after another misfire, Alexander Tochilin was dismissed. In the last match of the year with Orenburg, his assistant Denis Klyuev will have to lead the southerners. This specialist will be the third for the outsider of the tournament this season. But castling on the coaching bridge does not help yet. The team is at the bottom of the table, and it is hard to believe that last year it won silver medals.