In a match that was compared by the commentator to the snow scene in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, a struggling Dynamo Moscow somehow found its way to a win over a team that should not have been difficult to beat. The first half was another sorry sight for Dynamo fans as the team failed to create chances against an outsider. The scenario was almost as embarrassing as the first half of Reading vs. Arsenal, except that it was scoreless, snowy, and with a last-place Second tier team. Like Arsenal, though, Dynamo had various significant absences, including forwards Balázs Dzsudzsák and Aleksandr Kokorin, defender Luke Wilkshire, and midfielder Aleksandr Sapeta. Dynamo had the ball for less than 15 minutes, long enough for Christian Noboa to try his hand at some long balls and make use of Khimki keeper Gavrilov's bad clearance. Despite starting off with the initiative, the Premier League outsiders soon lost the ball to Khimki. Solovyev made a run on the left flank, passing to Gvazaev, whose shot flew right into Dynamo keeper Shunin's hands. The next attempt was a solid one, and Shunin came through with a save, converting the powerful shot to a corner. Jantscher made occasional runs on the right flank, but the striker so far is the Lukas Podolski of his new team - his past success on the pitch is not very visible in the present. Khimki were quick to counter at every opportunity, though in most cases the players sent the ball high over the bar. Komkov's chip shot tested Shunin, and the keeper came through with a great save. As the game drew closer to a scoreless halftime, Dynamo created one serious attempt, led by skipper Igor Semshov's long ball. Gavrilov's diving save left the ball in play, and Kevin Kuranyi picked up the rebound, but the keeper was quick to react a second time. With six players up front for another attack, it seemed illogical that Dynamo wouldn't open up the score, but Granat's cross from the left flank only resulted in another high shot by Kuranyi. The lack of Aleksandr Kokorin was just as apparent as the absence of Cesc Fabregas would be for Barcelona. Dynamo Manager Dan Petrescu had his usual falling out with the referees. Taking cover behind the local police, he was ultimately escorted off the pitch by the fourth official, forced to watch the rest of the match from the stands.
Despite having a home field advantage and being well ahead in the game, Khimki were first to make a substitution, bringing out their injured player. The match remained the same - Dynamo looked like they had switched places with Khimki, with veterans Semshov and Kuranyi losing the ball in the box, unable to get even one shot on Gavrilov's net. Naturally, Petrescu's team was first to concede, as Filatov's cross from the left flank gave Sobolev a close-range shot that Shunin failed to save. Dynamo responded by strengthening the midfield, bringing out Misimovic for Noboa and 19-year-old reserve player Ivan Solovyev for Nekhaichik. Weak attempts by Misimovic and Kuranyi were like flies for keeper Gavrilov. The Blue-and-Whites collected a series of unnecessary yellows. Too many passes drew out Dynamo's combinations into long, grueling progressions. The entrance of another rookie, Andrei Panyukov, got Dynamo back into an attack-oriented game, though they nearly conceded a second goal after Fernandez lost the ball in the 18-yard box, while his teammate gave away a dangerous free kick. In a worst-case scenario, Khimki would have gotten their second win over Dynamo since 2006. Yet Leandro Fernandez made up for his defensive mishap. After a cross into the box, the Argentine made a last-second pass as he flew past the goal line to Kevin Kuranyi, who finished the job inches away from the net. The team once again avoided a Khimki goal after Komkov's dangerous cross in the box went out, neither of his teammates willing to go the extra mile. As the guest team's fans chanted louder and louder, and snow began to lightly fall on the pitch, 18-year-old Andrei Panyukov picked up a beautiful through ball in a solo run and swiveled before sending in the goal and sending his team to the Quarterfinals. Khimki were back on the attack, however, and there were still four minutes left to change the score. Fortunately for the Blue-and-Whites, Khimki's long balls and set pieces flew far from the net.
|"Loyalty to the grave". Khimki supporters hope for a win.|
|Dynamo manager Dan Petrescu gestures from the stands.|
If Arsenal fans have long debated the importance of winning the League Cup, Chelsea's legendary defender and current Dynamo manager knows exactly where he stands on the issue. "I don't ask that question," he said. "For me, there's only the next game."