The Russian Premier Liga 2010 is over. Zenit St. Petersburg convincently won the championship while Alania Vladikavkaz will be the unlucky one of joining Sibir Novosibirsk in the Russian First Division next season. Lokomotiv, who had a season full of swings had to content with a creditable fifth place at the end as Loko's draw with Rubin and Spartak's heated derby draw against Dynamo Moscow meant that everything stayed as it was before the match. Although the red-green fans may have amibitioned for a place higher than the one attained, I personally believe that taking everything into account Lokomotiv overall did well and the 5th place was exactly the place which Lokomotiv deserved. Yesterday, with the 4th place still up for the grabs, Lokomotiv tried to snatch a win over outgoing champions Rubin Kazan but at the end had to content for a draw. Although Lokomotiv were better in the second period, the draw was the best result for a match between two teams who failed to hit top gear. Nevertheless, although Lokomotiv failed to find the net, they did well and their good performance was unfortunately marred by a moment of madness from Dmitry Tarasov who was given his marching orders for elbowing an opponent. Unfortunately this ensured that Lokomotiv surpasses the record they set this year of having 10 players sent off in 30 matches. The main contributor to this negative record was the same Dmitry Tarasov, whose last Sunday red card was his third of the season.
For the match against Rubin, Yury Semin fielded the practically the same 11 who took the pitch against Rostov. The only change was Wagner, who came on for the crocked Igor Smolnikov. Moreover for the second time in sucession Rodolfo started in attack while main star Aleksandr Aliev didn't even made it to the bench. Although no questions arosed, this fuelled rumours that Aleksandr Aliev's stay in Moscow was just for a single year. With Yury Semin close to return to Dynamo Kiev, it is probable that the Ukranian ace will follow his mentor and return to the Ukranian capital.
As aforementioned clear-cut chances were hard to come by and actually few were the chances worth of mentioning. Actually, the sizeable cword at the stadium had to wait 25 minutes before witnessing a shot at goal as Sychev's drive was well held by Lithuanian keeper Arlauskis. The next one to threaten was Glushakov whose long range drive was tipped over by the former Unirea Urziceni keeper. From the resultant corner, Basha maybe could have put the hosts ahead but he failed to take advantage from Arlauskis poor judgement and could only head wide. That was all for the first half and with the coaches somewhat pleased with what they were seeing no changes were made the break. If the first half was quite boring the second was even worse as although Lokomotiv enjoyed a better share of possession they find it difficult to find a way past a sturdy Rubin defence. The only chance for Loko fell onto the feet of Glushakov who for once again threatened from this distance. This time round however the ball rattled the crossbar and bounced out. At the other end Martins had the only visitors' chance of goal as after running one-on-one towards Guilherme he failed to get past the brilliant Guilherme, who was on his toes to dive to the ground and snap the ball from the Nigerian's striker feet. Although both Rubin and Loko were resigned for a draw, there was still time for Tarasov to get his marching orders for a inexpicable elbow offence on Sibaya. At the end of the match, the Loko faithful engaged in furious chants against Olga Smorodskaya and as the match ended, Yury Semin made a lap of honour which maybe signalled the end of his tenure at Lokomotiv.
Player Ratings:Guilherme: 7
Steady as ever. Would not be surprised if Chelsea are truly interested in the Brazilian keeper.Shishkin: 6.5
I just hope that next year he will be wearing red-green coloursBasha: 6
Steady. Could have scored too.Durica: 6.5
It's amazing how from practically an outcast he developed into a key defenderYanbaev: 6
Quite quiet.Glushakov: 7
Hit the crossbar and was Loko's major threat.Tarasov: 4.5
Was having a good match but inexplicably and stupidly got himself sent-off.Loskov: 6
Did well.Wagner: 5.5
Quite inexistentSychev: 6
Not really much he could do.