A Comeback That Almost Happened

Russian Premier League 2019/20. MD 10. PFC CSKA Moscow 3-2 FC Krasnodar

PFC CSKA Moscow 3-2 (3-0) FC Krasnodar

Goals: Vlašić, 32, penalty kick (1-0), Chalov, 37 (2-0), Vlašić, 41 (3-0), Berg, 56 (3-1), Berg (Wanderson), 60 (3-2).

PFC CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Diveyev, Karpov, Šarlija, Akhmetov (Maradishvili, 90+3), Kuchayev, Bistrović, Vlašić, Sigurðsson (Bijol, 64), Chalov.

FC Krasnodar: Safonov, Stotsky, Fjóluson, Martynovich, Petrov, Kaio (Kambolov, 72), Utkin (Berg, 46), Olsson, Wanderson, Skopintsev (Suleymanov, 46), Ari.

Yellow cards: Akhmetov, 23, Vlašić, 90+5 – Skopintsev, 40, Suleymanov, 58, Martynovich, 90+7.

Referees: Bezborodov (Saint Petersburg), Gavrilin (Vladimir), Petrosyan (Bronnitsy).

22 September 2019. Moscow. VEB Arena. Broken clouds. 4 degrees.

An opener scored in the tonight’s game confirmed a tendency of the last months in the Russian football. Since the VAR system had been introduced the referees began ordering much more penalty kicks for handball inside the box. On the 30th minute the ball hit Skopintsev’s elbow, so Vladislav Bezborodov reviewed the episode on video and pointed to a penalty spot. Nikola Vlašić took a shot under the crossbar, literally with no chance for the keeper to save it.

FC Krasnodar let two more goals in until the end of the first half. On the 37th minute the Moscow Armeitsy succeeded with a quick attack that ended when Fyodor Chalov bent his shot from the 18-yard line and made the ball fly into the second corner of the net. In one of the following attacks he came very close to scoring a brace, but Safonov parried the ball after a point-black shot. The brace was recorded anyway for another CSKA player, Vlašić, who finished the pigskin on the rebound.

On the 56th minute Marcus Berg managed to shorten the gap a bit. Akinfeev coped with a shot taken by Petrov from seven meters, but a corner kick then followed and the Swedish striker caught a rebound at the second pole. That was not all though, as no more than five minutes later Wanderson produced an aimed serve and Berg redirected the ball into the second corner with the back of his head.

In the remaining half an hour the Bulls applied big pressure against the opposite goal, and they had numerous chances for an equalizer at least. But Berg never got a hat trick for himself (a couple of his shots lacked accuracy, and Akinfeev saved his team on another occasion), and bad ball handling by Kuchayev on the 75th minute did not make it cross the goal-line of the Moscow team. FC Krasnodar was about to achieve a mighty comeback, but it turned out that Lady Luck was not with the black-greens tonight.