Aleksandr Kokorin Aleksei Ionov

Kuban Krasnodar 1-1 Dynamo Moscow

2:03 PMAleks Vee

"Strike while the iron is hot" was the advice the Russian channel Our Football gave to Dynamo coach Dan Petrescu ahead of the game against Kuban Krasnodar. Dynamo Moscow have been on a roll since the end of the 1st leg of the RPL and came off a successful pre-season friendly tour. Luck was not on the side of the Moscovites, however, as the team's line-up of opponents this spring is the toughest yet. Add Kuban's new head coach Leonid Kuchuk to the mix, and you've got a very challenging match-up. Kuchuk, whose managerial debut last week against Volga in Nizhny Novgorod resulted in a 2:0 win, was motivated as ever to succeed against Dynamo. Never mind that Petrescu managed Kuban last season; Kuchuk's interests lay elsewhere, namely in putting pressure on the Blue-and-Whites' defense and playing an attack-oriented game. It wasn't easy for the Moscovites without their captain, Olympic gold medalist Leandro Fernandez, who is one of three players out injured. Aleksandr Kokorin took the captain's armband for the first time in an official match this year, and while he is no doubt a talented striker, it would have been helpful to have a more experienced player in the lead.

Kuban dominated the pitch for the entirety of the game, but lacked in finishing their chances. Their multitude of set pieces was nothing but wasteful, as plenty of them could have easily ended up in goal, but instead volleyed in and around the box. A beautiful counter by the Moscovites finally got them a goal when Kokorin netted in Jakob Jantscher's cross. The visitors' lead lasted a mere 5 minutes, however. Nikita Chicherin lacked confidence in his game, letting the opposition through, and Aleksei Ionov's through ball got Ibrahima Balde a far post finish. Truthfully, many of Kuban's attempts could have ended in a similar fashion. The team's skillful tiki-taka passes were certainly a treat, already reflecting the style of their head coach, who is known, among other things, for reaching the Champions League Play-Off Round and Europa League Group Stage with Sheriff Tiraspol. The team from Krasnodar also showed that money and skill need not be related - their level and style of play were quite reminiscent of Hiddink's Anzhi.

Aside from some theatrics and disregarded fouling from the home team, the match really kicked off after the first goal. Dynamo's sloppy passes were a tad less noticeable as the game went on, and the Moscovites put more pressure on the home team. Kuban's solid midfield and back four proved to be a mighty fortress. Also of note is Dynamo's keeper Anton Shunin, who made a few important saves throughout the match.

Three points would have been better for either team, moving them that much closer to the league's front-runners. "Overall, I'm pleased that we took four points in the first spring games," said Dan Petrescu in a post-match interview, referencing Dynamo's lucky 1-0 win against Lokomotiv last week. "I didn't like that we conceded quickly. This affected the course of the game, which turned out to be difficult."

While a draw is not so much a blight on the Blue-and-Whites' 6-match winning streak, one point is hardly enough to move them up the league table. The result is a narrow move from seventh to sixth, instead of Spartak's fourth place spot, just three points shy of Zenit St Petersburg. For the Moscovites, a win would have made all the difference.

Russian Premier League - Matchweek 21
Saturday, March 16, 2013, 10:30AM EST

Kuban Krasnodar vs Dynamo Moscow - 1:1 (1:1)
Venue: Kuban Stadium (Krasnodar)
Referee: Aleksandr Egorov (Saransk)
0:1 Aleksandr Kokorin (Asst. Jakob Jantscher)
1:1 Ibrahima Balde (Asst. Aleksei Ionov)

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