Monday, September 27, 2010

Lokomotiv improve to beat Terek Grozny

Yesterday Lokomotiv Stadium was the stage for the encounter between Lokomotiv Moscow and Terek Grozny. Although like Lokomotiv Terek Grozny often struggle when playing away from home, the fact that only one point separated the two prior to the match meant that the match was never going to be an easy ride for the red-green - and atually so it was. Although Lokomotiv started brightly and opened the score within the first two minutes through a penalty, the first period was merely a poor one for the Railwaymen as for much of the first period were second best to Terek. Credit to Terek who although it's a must to say that they scored the leveller in an illegal manner, they plucked up courage and locked down the hosts in their own half; Glushakov was visibly helpless against the fury of the 5 Terek midfielders, who literally swept aside Loko's midfield. Although Lokomotiv did managed to go ahead once again through Maicon and defend such slim lead till the half time it was clear that something had to change as Denis Glushakov couldn't cope on his own. Thus Semin introduced Dmitry Tarasov and the move paid dividends immediately as Tarasov bossed the midfield and helped Lokomotiv to improve and hold on for the eighth win of the season.

Despite welcoming back Wagner and Rodolfo from injuries both of them failed to make it to the initial line-up as the only change made from last week was the reinstatement of Maicon at the expense of Tarasov. Guilherme started in goal while all the back four kept their respective place and positions. Glushakov protected the back four while the Loskov and Aliev roamed around at the middle of the park. Gatagov and Maicon hugged the flanks while Sychev lead the front line.

As already said, Lokomotiv came out aggresively and within 180 seconds they were one-nil up as Lokomotiv were awarded a penalty for a penalty. Terek protested furiously but the decision rightly stood and up stepped Aliev who confidentially converted to set up Lokomotiv for a much needed victory. Minutes later Aliev threated again but as soon as Lokomotiv were looking to have settled down Terek drew the match. Shamil Asildarov lifted the ball over Loko's defence and onto the path of Mauricio, whose attempt to lob over Guilherme miserably failed as the Brazilian keeper did very well to stay on his feet and smother the ball - however, as Guilherme was falling to the ground with the ball grabbed in his hands, Mauricio bumped into Guilherme and managed to steal the ball from Guilherme's hand and shoot home. Lokomotiv protested furiously and although replays showed that Guilherme was right to protest the goal still stood. Buoyed by the goal, Terek poured forward in numbers and managed to lock down Lokomotiv in their own half. Nevertheless although Terek had the majority of possesion still they couldn't find a way past Guilherme and eventually against the run of play Lokomotiv regained the lead. Aliev inswinging corner found Maicon who without even jumping headed to the bottom right corner to score his third goal of the season. That was all in the first half as Terek went for the break ahead in ball possesion but trailing in score.

Semin tried to correct the hole at the middle of the park and introduced Dmitry Tarasov to partner Denis Glushakov at the expense of Alan Gatagov. On the other hand, Terek tried to increase some firepower upfront by putting on Hector Bracamonte in place of their goalscorer Mauricio. However such move hardly paid any dividends as Loko's defence dealt very well with any move that Terek tried and actually Guilherme was called only to make routine saves such as claiming balls in the air. Credit must go to Loko's midfield which unlike in the first half they closed down the opponents as soon as the opponents had the ball at their feet. Play became boring and apart of some pressure applied on our defence in the dying minutes Terek were hardly dangerous. On the other hand, with Lokomotiv looking to hold on their advantage rather than extending it limited themselves to put men into attack and threathened severily only once as Sychev's header brought out the best from Hazyur. That was all and although Lokomotiv maybe haven't recorded the win they were aiming for, considering the circumstances I believe that in the end it's the result that matter and Loko should be pleased with that as it enabled them to surpass the same Terek in the standings and still challenge for an Europa League slot.

Player Ratings:
Guilherme - 7
Illegally challenged for the goal. Inspired confidence
Shishkin - 6.5
Closed down his flank very well.
Basha - 7
Continued with his fine form. Composed and strong in air.
Durica - 6.5
Looked rusty in the opening minutes but improved as minutes went by.
Yanbaev - 7
Exchanged his attacking and defensive roles exceptionally.
Glushakov - 6.5
Was overrun in the first half but improved greatly in the second period.
Aliev - 7.5
Scored a penalty and assisted Maicon for the second.
Maicon - 7
Scored a header and troubled Terek's rearguard
Gatagov - 5.5
Started brightly but faded. Replaced at half-time.
Sychev - 6
Frustating night for the Russian International.

Tarasov - 7.5
Brought some much needed steel to Loko's midfield.
Wagner - N/A
No time to impress
Rodolfo - N/A
Introduced to waste time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yanbaev own goal undoes Lokomotiv

Following last week's morale boosting win over CSKA, Lokomotiv flew to Tomsk in a confident mood of picking where they left last Sunday. Obviously last week's performance instilled some belief in the majority of Lokomotiv players and although trips to Siberia are anything but easy some, including me, were confident that in a way or another Lokomotiv will manage to return back to Moscow with full points. Unfortunately however this wasn't to be as Tom Tomsk made their home tag reputation no damage and proved to be more than a worthy opponent to Lokomotiv. Although Lokomotiv managed to go ahead through hot prospect Alan Gatagov, the Siberian outfit pegged us almost immediately as form insistence of once Loko-wanted Artem Dzyuba forced Guilherme to a difficult save, which however wasn't enough to deviate the trajectory of the ball out of the goal. Yanbaev, ran to the ball in an attempt to clear the ball but however miserably failed as his clearance bounced onto the upright and onto the net. Maybe Shiskin, who was close to the action could have done better. But anyways what's done is done and cannot be reversed. Although Lokomotiv went for a win, the draw against Tom shouldn't be considered as a negative result. Truly that Lokomotiv still failed to win one single away match but the league is not over and should the guys give their best I am pretty sure that we won't finish the season without a single away win. Anyways let's hope so because it would be disastrous for a club of our stature.
Having to make without derby hero Maicon and Malkhaz Asatiani due to suspension, Semin made some slight changes in the initial line-up. Actually Semin made no changes as the only two changes were those forced one due to the aforementioned suspension. Durica made his first start for Lokomotiv this season and given that he is left footed Marko Basha had to move to the right of the heart of the defence in order to accomadate the Slovakian. At the other end Gatagov replaced Maicon and started on the left flank. On the other hand the other 9 kept their respective place and position.

Following a dull opening 20 minutes, in which most of the play took place in the middle of the park, the match finally came into life. First Aliev threatened severely Pareiko with a 45-metre freekick and then Loskov failed to volley home with a close range effort as his shot was dealt without any problems by the Tom Tomsk captain. By now Lokomotiv had the most of the play and were the most likely to open to score. And actually, with 5 minutes to go, Lokomotiv raced ahead. Gatagov was played through majestically by Sychev and after bringing down the ball beautifully he showed a composure of a 30 year old by slidding the ball between the legs of the opposition. One up for Lokomotiv, a lead which however was short-lived as Tom Tomsk pegged Lokomotiv back immediately as described above. Guilherme was furious as obviously such effort could have been dealt a lot better.

After playing second fiddle for much of the first peiord, Tom Tomsk came out for the second in a more aggressive manner. Actually the hosts started to close down the opponents at the middle of the park and thus Lokomotiv were limited into their own half and started to operate on counter attacks. In a game of two faces, now it was Tom Tomsk who were doing the game, even when Tom Tomsk ended up with ten due to a hiliarious sending off of Kim Nam-Il, who was given his second yellow card for telling the ref to book a Lokomotiv player. Rules are rules but certainly that was a funny way to send off a player. Nevertheless despite playing the final 20 minutes with one-man up, Lokomotiv failed to trouble Pareiko and thus had to settle for a one-all draw.

Player Ratings
Guilherme - 7
No chance on goal. Otherwise did nothing wrong
Shishkin - 6
Misplaced some passes, which some of them were rather simple
Basha - 6.5
Allowed Dzyuba to turn around him for the goal but otherwise was strong.
Durica - 6.5
Started in a clumsy manner but improved considerably as minutes went by
Yanbaev - 5
Scored an own goal which probably could have been avoided.
Glushakov - 6
As Shishkin misplaced some passes but grew as the match went on.
Tarasov - 6.5
An all around performance from the tall midfielder.
Aliev - 6
Threatened with a 45-metre freekick but that was all from the Ukranian.
Loskov - 6.5
Tried his best but that wasn't enough. Still Lokomotiv look better with him on pitch.
Gatagov - 7
Scored his second league goal of his career and caused several problems on the right for Tom.
Sychev - 6.5
Assisted Gatagov for the goal and tried to lead the line as he did last week.

Dramani - 6
Started brightly but faded.
Torbinsky - 4.5
When you are substituted after entering the pitch just 10 minutes before it is clear that he did nothing worthy. Very passive as outlined by Semin.
Traore - N/A
On pitch just because Semin have no other suitable options.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Welcome back Captain

At 36 years of age and 3 years after he left the armband to Bilyaletdinov following his transfer from Lokomotiv to Saturn, Dmitry Loskov was once again installed as captain by Yury Semin. Although Loskov captained the troops against CSKA many thought that Dmitry Loskov will only captain the railwaymen for the derby against the horses.

However, in an interview with Yury Semin, our father stated that he took matters into his own hands and decided to appoint Dmitry Loskov as captain for the rest of the season. Semin added that this club madly needed a leader and he believes that the experienced midfielder is the perfect one for the job. Thus for the remaining 10 matches of the season our captain will be Dmitry Loskov. On the other hand Dmitry Sychev will be our vice-captain.

With regards to the matter, the now-former captain Dmitry Sychev stated that he is happy to give the armband to Dmitry Loskov because as Semin he believes that he is the perfect one for the job.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lokomotiv back on track!

As a wounded animal looking to hit back with violence, this afternoon Lokomotiv rose up to the occasion and looking to put black August behind them, the lads produced a resolute performance and eventually ran out 1-0 winners against 'now-all-over-title-challengers' CSKA Moscow. Amazing match!! Lokomotiv scored early in the match and thus many expected that Loko will eventually loose ground and let CSKA back in the game. However today this wasn't the case as rallied by captain-again Dmitry Loskov, Lokomotiv managed to hold on to a much needed result. The Loko backline, which was the target for much criticism in recent weeks produced a superb display, especially Marko Basha who literally nullified Vagner Love. Actually in a whole match Vagner Love didn't managed to shot a single shot at goal! Huge game by the Montenegrin & co! Praise should also go to Glushakov and Tarasov who hassled the CSKA engine room and close down every inch of their midfield. Credit should go also to Sychev who although lost his captainy he seemed little effected as he was in quite an inspiring form. Ultimately while credit should go the whole squad who admirably functioned as a true squad, it's a must that Yury Semin should be singled out. The way he mastered the match from start to finish showed that Semin was and is the best man for the job!! Credit should also go the home crowd who made this day even special with their non-stop support towards the hosts!! Beautiful day for Loko - now let's hope that the team build on this performance and challenge for at least an Europa League place!!

Looking to bounce back from heavy back-to-back defeats Semin shuffled his men and fielded a fluid 4-2-2-2 formation. Guilherme obvisouly started in goal while Basha teamed up with Malhaz Asatiani at the middle. On the other hand Yanbaev and Shishkin lined up on the flanks. Denis Glushakov and Dmitry Tarasov supported the backline while Loskov & Aliev were given the licence to connect the midfield with attack. Moreover Semin also moved Aliev even deeper and thus Loskov was more near to Sychev. Personally this was a good move as Aliev found more space to operate. In attack Maicon, in quite a far right position was suppose to assist Sychev in attack.

Looking for a boost, Lokomotiv came out looking for an early goal as soon as from the first kick of the game. Actually 2 minutes barely passed and Aliev troubled Akinfeev with a rocket from the middle of CSKA half. This looked to have encouraged Lokomotiv as everyone present at the stadium noticed that in the opening 10 minutes Lokomotiv functioned far better than they did in all August. One the quarter mark Lokomotiv had a goal righlty ruled out. Maicon picked up the boal on the right and from quite an acute angle he let off a sniper which was well neutralised by Akinfeev - however the ball fell to Sychev who in open net delivered home. Unfortunately for Lokomotiv at the moment Maicon shot Sychev was centimetres offside and thus the linesman made the right call. Moments later Loskov troubled Akinfeev as his long range effort whispered just over the crossbar. This teritorial advantage seemed to had galvanized Loko as although they were always alert for any CSKA counter-attack Loko managed to heap on some pressure on the vulnerable CSKA defenders. On 25 minutes Loko deservedly went ahead. Sychev insistence's earned Loko a corner which Aliev perfectly delivered towards Maicon who without even jumping bundled home. Lokomotiv stadium erupted while Guilherme was visibly ecstatic. Managing to go ahead Lokomotiv relented a bit and replaced their attacking intent with a more cautious approach. Eventually this lead to CSKA winning some territorial advantage - but that was all as the Loko backline, in particular Basha who alone literally wiped out the CSKA front men. One-nil was the score at the break.

The play restarted with CSKA visibly eager to create more than their counterparts. With regards to substitutions no managers made any. The fact that Semin haven't made a substitution at the break shows how Lokomotiv did well in the first 45 minutes. As aforementioned CSKA came out more adventorous and actually within 5 minutes Guilherme had to be on his toes to parry onto corner Tosic driving shot. Lokomotiv went even deeper and this let CSKA to win even more territory. Nevertheless this failed to yield any results as Glushakov and Tarasov anchored the midfield admirably. On the 69-th minute both the arch-nemesis had a one player sent off as following a high-foot tackle from Mark Gonzalez on Asatiani, the latter retalitated by throwing the ball towards the Chilean face. The diminutive winger replied by grabbing the Georgian from the throat. Obvisouly the ref was let with no other option than sending off both of them. To be sincere while obviously I didn't enjoyed Asatiani's moment of madness I must say that the sending off of Asatiani was a blessing in disguise. The reason was that as soon as Mark Gonzalez went on field just minutes earlier CSKA started to look more incisive in attack. So in poor words I was satisfied to see Asatiani off, as long as he went off with the Chilean as it eventually happened. True that Loko remained with 10 but so did CSKA and personally the threat was much lower with CSKA minus Gonzalez. With Loko then playing with just 3 defenders Semin wasted to time to introduce Durica in place of Aliev - quite surprising to say the least! But after thinking about it I thought that Semin did well. With Loko playing with ten men and CSKA in attack there was huge risk that Aliev will earn his fourth yellow card of the season which would mean a suspension. Good move. Although CSKA huffed and puffed at the end there was no way through the Loko defence and thus had to gave away a match which potentially crushed any title dreams. On the other hand, the question if this victory will recharge Loko is on. Let's hope so anyways!

Player Ratings:
Guilherme - 7
Spilled a ball or two but was monstrous in the air when CSKA started to pressurize the backline
Shishkin - 7
Solid in defence, cautious in attack.
Asatiani - 4
Without hesitation I would give him a higher rating for the reason aformentioned but a red card for unsportmanship conduct should never be awarded.
Basha - 8.5
Immense. Dealt with everything threw at him.
Yanbaev - 7
Nullified Sekou Oliseh and then Zoran Tosic quite well.
Tarasov - 8
Huge game from the former FC Moscow. Apart of one ball didn't put a wrong foot once!
Glushakov - 8
Full of energy. Looked confident and the crowd was absolutely delighted with one particular back-heeled-through-the-legs pass.
Aliev - 8
Full of running and Loko's engine. Troubled Akinfeev through several long range efforts and claimed an assist too.
Loskov - 8
It's amazing that he has 36 years. Captained the side on the day and showed his real leadership skills. Steadied the ship.
Sychev - 7.5
Gave his all. Lead the front line very well on the day.

Durica - 7
Ensured that Lokomotiv hold on to an important victory. A Basha- Durica could be interesting.
Gatagov - N/A
No time to impress but held the ball exceptionally
Ozdoev - N/A
Introduced to consume some seconds.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Remembering Jacob Lekgetho....

Today, the 9th of September 2010, is the 2nd anniversary of the death of one of the best players ever to grace the Lokomotiv Moscow shirt. Apart of his enormous talent and love for the shirt he wore, Jacob was a great and respected guy and he was highly respected by the red-green faithful who forsure will never forget such great man which today it's very difficult to find alike.

I just hope that all the Loko and also those neutral one take some time out of their busy schedule and join me and offer a prayer for the soul of our sorely missed friend.

Rest in peace Jacob. You will remain in our hearts forever!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lokomotiv and Uzbekistan play out an entertaining match

Today in a friendly match Lokomotiv took the field against the national team of former Soviet Union country Uzbekistan. Although currently the railwaymen are doing bad in the championship, the players managed to put disappointment and pressure aside and eventually emerge 2-1 victors. With the managers fielding their best players on pitch, the match resulted to be an entertaining one. Although Uzbekistan opened quite well, the hosts managed to build up a double advantage and bit by bit control the match. Uzbekistan managed to claw one back with 8 minutes remaining but the red-green held on to record a morale-boosting victory and bring some smiles to a good number of supporters present at the training stadium.

Dmitry Loskov and youngster Georgi Nurov scored for Lokomotiv while former CSKA man Alexander Geinreich found the net for Uzbekistan. Loskov's and the Uzbek's goal were both from penalties.

**I would like to excuse myself for the recent photo-less posts. The problem is that Photo Uploader is functioning well and thus at the moment I am unable to upload any photos. Once the situation which I have no control over will be corrected, I will start to upload photos once again :). Thanks for your attention and my apologies**