At long last! 3 points and a convincing win!! For the first time this season, Lokomotiv forwards managed to link up with each other throughout all the match! Aliev was brilliant as ever, Gatagov brought into the side some trickery which we lately lacked, Sychev had a pretty good match and gave his all while Traore did some good work as he battled well in the air. Nevertheless the highlight of the match was the goal scored by Maicon - which apart of being Maicon first ever goal for us, was the first goal scored by a striker in open play this season!! Couldn't have gone to the holidays better - holidays which couldn't come at better times. Undoubtedly our paternal figure will use those days to look at his squad, what we lacked, where we can/should improve and of course any potential needed striker. Actually, today the talk about Pavlyuchenko's transfer to Lokomotiv was reopened as the media cited that Lokomotiv have lodged another bid for the Russian international. While it's pleasant to hear so, it is even more pleasant to watch the player himself, Roman Pavlyuchenko at the stands of our stadium. The question is ... could it be the sign that he is near to Lokomotiv? Hope so!! For sure the striker would bring something which the squad obviously lack - firepower upfront! Moreover, from what we've saw today, I believe that a Pavlyuchenko would be the perfect match for Sychev. Although our captain was recently heavy criticised, I believe that, although it's true that he wasn't at his best, the formation and his position didn't helped his situation. Sychev is more of a second striker rather than a striker - and today it was clearly shown. Although he failed to get onto the scoresheet, the central forward linked up well with the rest of the squad, particularly Gatagov & Yanbaev, and unsurprisingly he was on of the best on pitch. Another player to praise is Branko Ilic. The Slovenian, who replaced Oleg Kuzmin was making his first ever appearance for Lokomotiv and let no one down with his good match. Keep it up mate and all the best for the World Cup!
Today, eager to end this first part of the season with a win, Semin decided to ring the changes against Amkar. As aforementioned, Oleg Kuzmin made way for Branko Ilic while there was still no place for Rodolfo in the starting line-up and thus Marko Basha mantained his place. Asatiani and Yanbaev together with the ever-present Guilherme completed the defensive department. Tarasov partnered the Croatian Dujmovic in the midfield while Aliev and Gatagov, who took the place of Glushakov completed the midfield. Recall that the latter was making his first start of the season. In attack, Sychev partnered the Malian Traore, who replaced Maicon.
As expected, with both clubs looking to turn around their recent abmysal form, the match started in a frantic manner. Within minutes, Amkar, through their best player on the day, Grishin, nearly forced the home keeper into a mistake, as the left-winger stinging cross-shot created a lot of problems for the Brazilian stopper - nevertheless, the no.1 managed to parry the ball to a car, albeit with a little bit of difficulty and luck. Lokomotiv soon replied, as through one good move, Sychev found Gatagov, who after rushing onto goal could only shot directly to Narubin - Loko fans sounded their appreciation for the build-up. On the quarter mark, Lokomotiv went ahead. Lokomotiv were awarded a freekick long way outside and up stepped the usual Aliev who hit the freekick with real venom, to the extent that Narubin could only parry onto the net. Lokomotiv stadium erupted! As soon as Loko went ahead, the home side were happy to let the visitors take the iniative and try to hit onto the counter. In a rare Amkar attack, Peev looked to copy Aliev with a freekick of his own, but unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, Guilherme, unlike Narubin was equal to it. On the other hand, Sychev rushed onto the keeper and his effort form a quite tight angle was greatly blocked by the sliding Kalashnikov, who replaced their icon Alexey Popov who is believed of injuring badly his hand - possibly even breaking his hand. Anyways, get well soon Alexey.
Making no changes in the break, Lokomotiv came out looking to put the match to bed. Aliev was the man to threaten again as his freekick troubled again the visiting keeper - however, this time round the keeper managed to repel the ball outwards. Sychev tried his luck too on several occasions but no matter how hard he tried, he was luckless. As minutes started to pass by, Lokomotiv started to retreat backwards and operate on the counter, as at the end of the first period. Eventually, with 10 mins to spare, Lokomotiv found the winning goal. Yanbaev played a majestic one-two with Sychev, rushed onto the small box and his cross shot found Maicon, who from inches out bundled home - much to the delight of himself, the Loko squad, Semin and obviously the Lokomotiv stadium. Apart of a similar chance apiece for Kolomeitsev and Glushakov, there was no final drama and thus Lokomotiv could celebrate a win which hopefully will boost our confidence. Happy holidays and good luck to those who are going to the World Cup, including you Peter, so maybe hopefully you leave once and for all!! The goals can be seen by clicking here
Guilherme - 7
Recovered well form his early scare and did well at the back. His distribution was class today - on several occasion even iniaiting the counter himself.
Ilic - 7
A sound debut from the Slovenian. Was visibly excited, but nevertheless grew in stature as the match went on.
Asatiani - 7
Was eager to show Rakhimov that he deserved better form him. Had Burmistrov in his pockets for most of the match
Basha - 7
Replied to his critics quite well as he produced, arguably, his best performance of the season.
Yanbaev - 7.5
Linked up very well with Sychev and other attackers. One of Lokomotiv's main threats. Strong and disciplined in defence too.
Dujmovic - 7.5
Imperious performance from the Croatian. Never stopped running
Tarasov - 6.5
Good match from the former under-21 Russian international. Substituted in second half.
Aliev - 8
Produced the moment of magic which broke the deadlock. Literally stunning. An all-around performance from the Ukranian.
Gatagov - 8
Watch and learn Peter Odemwingie. Arguably man of the match. His trickery and eagerness to impress created a lot of problems for the Amkar backline
Sychev - 8
His best performance of the season. Linked up well for the build-up of the second goal and gave his 150% throughout all the match. Got pass several players too.
Traore - 6.5
Didn't scored again, but at least won some balls in air.
Glushakov - 6.5
Did the job of the man he replaced. Could have bagged a goal.
Maicon - 7
His high rating is attributed to the fact that he scored the all important goal
Smolnikov - N/A
No time to impress.