Honours Even Between Lokomotiv Moscow And Zenit St. Petersburg

A second half equaliser from Rodolfo saw Lokomotiv grab a 1-1 draw in Moscow today versus Dick Advocaat's Zenit...

A persistent snow shower at the Lokomotiv Stadium greeted the players as they ran out onto the field for the start of the game between 9th placed Lokomotiv Moscow and 4th placed Zenit St Petersburg.

Some interesting tiffo from a section of the home fans, with a mass of proud home supporters holding up black plaques that were soon turned over to reveal Lokomotiv’s teams colours.

First Half

A fast and furious start saw an early chance opening in the fifth minute as Nigerian International Striker Peter Odemwingie set up a half chance for the home side Lokomotiv.

The 27 year old stripped the ball off a Zenit player deep in their half and released a pass for 25 year old Russian Striker Dmitri Sychev but the advancing Zenit Goal Keeper Viacheslav Malafeev rushed out quickly and picked up the ball just before the international Striker could get to it.

Zenit created a chance of their own with the next play; however a shot from 22 year old striker Viktor Faitzulin failed to trouble Czech Republic shot stopper Marek Cech, the Russian hitting the shot past the left hand post.

On ten minutes Zenit had a chance to take the lead from a beautiful cross from the left, however the Lokomotiv Keeper Malafeev managed to get to the ball first parrying the ball away to safety just as a Zenit player was about to pounce.

Then around the 20 minute mark Lokomotiv had a good chance to attack when the quick and skilful Nigerian Peter Odemwingie crossed from the left. Unfortunately for the home side the low and hard cross failed to reach a team mate.

Midway through the first half and a nice sequence of passing by Zenit, showed what a pleasure football can be when a side has a good command of passing the ball. The quality possession led to a shot from outside the box by right back Aleksandr Aniukov, the 25 year old Russian international forcing Lokomotiv keeper Cech to get down low to his left.

Then an amazing moment in the match as plumes of smoke may have thwarted a Zenit counter attack.  Possibly a flare or a fire cracker lit by the home support saw the smoke drift into the area of the pitch Zenit was attacking.

The Ukrainian midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk eventually hitting a volley from outside the box after some good lead up work from Portuguese midfielder Danny led to the chance. The shot forced the Lokomotiv keeper Cech down low to his right and then the referee Aleksandr Gvardis had to stop play because of the smoke.  

There was more action a minute later as this game saw both teams continue to create chances and Zenit’s 25 year old Striker Pogrebniak had the best of the game. The shot by the Russian brought the best out of Slovakian international defender Jan Durica whose block on Pogrebniak’s shot saved the Railway Workers from going down a goal.

Then right before half time the railway workers had their best chance of the game Odemwingie put through a lovely ball for Russian international striker Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to run onto but again the ball would not go into the back of the net.

The Ukrainian Captain Anatoliy Tymoschuk was instrumental in thwarting the attack with some great defending as he got back to help the Zenit defence from midfield.

Second Half

Zenit St Petersburg would have been disappointed with the score line as they where the better side in the first half but had nothing to show for it besides warming the hands of the busy Lokomotiv Keeper Marek Cech. And the keepers’ hands had to look lively again 10 minutes into the second half as he saved a shot that was struck from outside the box.

A minute later Zenit has another amazing opportunity to open the scoring as nice work from the South Korean left back Dong-jin Kim saw him launch a cross into a packed penalty box. Zenit players could not force the ball home as the Lokomotiv defence just about hung on.

Then around the 60th minute for Zenit took the lead, and it was the South Korean International left back Dong-Jin Kim who found himself on the end of a great cross from the right hand side from Viktor Faitzulin.

The 27 year old who has started in three consecutive games for Zenit, flew in the air. He seemed to hang there for an age before his head met the ball forcefully, the sight of net bulging sending the Zenit fans that were situated right behind the goal into mad ecstasy.

The Zenit players then joined the Korean in a rendition of the famous Romario “baby” goal celebration.

The railway boys of Lokomotiv did not give up and found themselves on a counter attack in the 64th minute. Nigerian Striker Odemwingie found himself on the end of a long cross, deep into Zenit’s half, he tried to control the cross with his head but the ball rolled in front of the Zenit keeper Malafeev.

The Russian international keeper then kicked the ball into the path of Lokomotiv striker Sytchev but his tame follow up volley did not trouble the keeper who this time used his hands to stop the Lokomtiv attack.

So around the 69th minute Lokomotiv made a substitute Senegalese striker Djilby Fall coming on for Nigerian Peter Odemwingie.

Then instantly, the Railway Boys scored as a corner was swung in from the left, it was flicked into the path of Brazilian defender Bentas Rodolfo whose header flew into top left hand side of the goal.

The sounds of happy fans cheering and train horns going off went around the Lokomotiv stadium and the fans even had time to sing along to the White Stripes unofficial football anthem Seven Nation Army.

The goal seemed to give Lokomotiv confidence and with that more chances started to come.

First a corner from the right caused a bit of trouble in the box; then shortly after that a shot from Jan Durica in the 75th minute forced Malafeev into a save down low to his left, a beautiful first touch gave the Slovakian international space to shoot.

Then for Lokomtiv, Sytchev made a good run down the right wing, and his cross almost caused Zenit defender Meira to put the ball into the back of his own net.

The next play saw Pogrebniak make a 30 yard run straight down the middle of the field, and as he ran through on goal he was cynically fouled just outside the box. The referee had no option but to send off Montenegro international defender Marko Basa.

Zenit then made a substitution in the 80th minute, putting on Turkish international attacker Fatih Tekke and taking off the fatigued Pavel Pogrebniak.

Zenit had more chances during the climax of the last ten minutes. Fatih Tekke went close in the 79th minute but his shot was blocked by a Lokomotiv defender.

Danny went close for Zenit in the 81st minute, but again Zenit could not take advantage of the extra man, with the Lokomotiv defence desperately clearing the ball away. 

After three minutes of injury time the referee blew the full time whistle. The Railway Boys would have been content with the draw while Zenit, who created the more chances and had an extra man for the last 13 minutes, would have been disappointed at not getting all the three points from this game.