RPL Week 11: Dynamo Moscow 0-2 Rubin Kazan12:59 PMAleks Vee
Russian Premier League, Week 11
Dynamo Moscow 0:2 Rubin Kazan
Venue: Arena Khimki
Referee: Igor Nizovtsev (Nizhniy Novgorod)
Goals: 0-1 Ozdoev (48), 0-2 Kanunnikov (71)
Cautions: Kuzmin (12), Ozdoev (41), Zhirkov (51), Buttner (53), Georgiev (68), Kanunnikov (90), Ryzhikov (90+2)
|Ozdoev and Vainqueur vie for the ball. Source: Epsilon/Getty Images Europe|
Rubin Kazan came off a 5-0 thrashing of Mordovia Saransk, and were themselves in need of points to keep up with the other top 5 contenders. Their solid defense, combined with the absence of accuracy in Dynamo's attack, led to the Blue-and-Whites' first RPL defeat since their game against Zenit in September. The teams seemed to start off on an equal footing, but as halftime drew near, it became evident that the hosts needed to step things up. Surprisingly, they did - thanks to Mathieu Valbuena, whose solo efforts resulted in save after save from Rubin keeper Sergei Ryzhikov. One player doesn't make the team, however, and Dynamo failed to carry the momentum into the second half. Only three minutes in, Magomed Ozdoev, on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow, scored his first goal for Rubin. Getting away from several players, including William Vainqueur, Ozdoev found plenty of space in front of goal and left Gabulov powerless. Rubin looked threatening on the counter, and one of these attacks led to their second goal. After a typical ineffective Dynamo corner, Rubin captain Kuzmin had a brilliant run that ended in a far post delivery to Maksim Kanunnikov. Douglas, who wasn't focused on marking his man, posed no problem for the Rubin forward, who netted in the visitors' second of the evening. The absence of captain Gokdeniz Karadeniz and Carlos Eduardo in midfield did not slow down the Volzhane. In fact, manager Rinat Bilyaletdinov noted ex-Dynamo forward Vladimir Dyadyun's excellent performance in place of Karadeniz. Rubin are not an easy opponent, even without Karadeniz and Eduardo in midfield. Together with goalkeeper Ryzhikov, they have one of the strongest defenses in the league, especially in away games, and that was clearly visible all throughout the 90 minutes. That being said, Dynamo still lacked accuracy on the finish, and sometimes, there wasn't much of a finish at all.
The usual suspects in Kozlov and Douglas made mistakes in defense, and were responsible for both of the opposition's goals. Douglas, who seemed to be improving in recent games, may be going back to his previous problematic spell. Kevin Kuranyi was bashed by the commentators upon coming off, although he rarely saw the ball and was subbed off in the second half. Aleksandr Kokorin came off the bench to help in the attack, but although he saw more of the ball, he had only one shot on goal and was unable to put Ryzhikov to the test. Even in moments when the opposition was a player down (Ozdoev was receiving attention off the pitch) or gave up plenty of space, the Blue-and-Whites failed to take advantage, and looked almost like a hockey team that can't make use of the power play.
Valbuena was undoubtedly Dynamo's top performer. Dynamo goalkeeper Gabulov may be the most-improved; except for one fumble where he let go of the ball in front of the net, he was at the ready for most of Rubin's attempts. Rubin goalkeeper Ryzhikov was deservedly named Man of the Match. All of Dynamo's shots on target saw excellent saves by the keeper.
The usual problems in the attack - no accuracy on the finish and few chances on target - are ever present for Dynamo. Lots of balls were going through the top, another issue for the Blue-and-Whites - they would have had far more chances if they had kept the ball lower. Set pieces were rarely a challenge for Rubin to defend, and are something Cherchesov's side need to work on.
When it comes to tactics, Bilyaletdinov clearly outplayed Cherchesov, parking the bus when needed and launching his team into swift counter-attacks. Rubin may have had less possession, but made the most of their chances, and could have netted in more. The game could have ended 4:2 or 4:3 to Rubin, had both sides made the most of their attempts.
All in all, a disappointment, but hopefully a wake-up call for Cherchesov and co.