Match Day 9 in the Putin Cup was a night of Moscow derbies with top two Spartak and Dynamo going head to head in their final group games to try lay claim to the cup whilst Lokomotiv and CSKA locked horns battling to keep themselves in the hunt.
Lokomotiv Moscow 2 v 1 CSKA Moscow
A Loko side who’s recent form in the competition has been on the rise hosted a CSKA side who have in the past weeks seen theirs slipping and were hoping that their visit to the Lokomotiv Stadium would reverse that trend.
With honours even through the opening exchanges the deadlock was broken in the 36th minute Vucinic teed up Samedov who’s shot from the edge of the area beat the dive of the despairing Valdes to put Loko ahead.
It looked like they would carry that advantage into the interval until a teasing cross from Dos Santos was met on the full by Djuricic who’s header left Guilherme wrong footed and restored parity for CSKA on 42minutes.
In a nervy second half neither side were willing to push forward and expose themselves to the counter and with little in the way of attacking intent it looked like the game was going to fizzle out into a draw until the 83rd minute when Samedov was on hand to turn a ball from Zurutuza passed Valdes for the winner.
Smith will be gutted as CSKA’s quest for the cup and World Club qualification ended tonight and will be looking to correct the dip in form which has also effected recent league results, Owen on the other hand knows that this result puts Loko’s cup destiny in their own hands going into their final fixture against Spartak.
Dynamo Moscow 2 v 1 Spartak Moscow
Spartak came to the Arena-Khimki hoping to find a Dynamo side still recovering from the hangover of their brave cup final defeat to Bayern whilst Dynamo were hoping to brush that set back aside in their quest for another chance of silverware.
There seemed to be no sign of mental or physical fatigue for the hosts who started strongly and took the lead in the 9th minute when Denisov curled a free kick around the wall that Alvarado could only admire as it sailed past him and into the net.
Spartak were level on 28 minutes however when Popov laid a ball to Munoz who from fully 30 yards unleashed a thunderbolt that caught Victor completely off guard and out of his ground as it rifled over him and under the bar.
10 minutes into the second half and Dynamo regained the lead, Damari threading a neat ball through to Davis who struck the ball in his stride giving Alvarado no time to react.
The visitors pushed forward and began to dominate the closing stages as Dynamo tired, sensing the need to freshen things up Razzaque used his allocation of substitutions on the hour which did enough to inject the necessary energy to see out the final 30 minutes unscathed.
In a finely balanced game Spartak boss Houston will be bitterly disappointed to have come away without a share of the spoils and having relinquished their chance of winning the cup, for Razzaque this will have been the perfect tonic but knows that cup glory could once again be snatched away from him at the death and will hope tonight’s visitors will do them a favour next week against Loko.
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