Spartak – Krasnodar Match Report

Ze Luis celebrating opening the scoring | Getty Images

The heavyweight match-up between Krasnodar and Spartak Moscow was billed as the headline match of week 18 of the Russian Premier Liga, and it did not disappoint. Tension for the match built up during the length of the long Russian winter break, and that tension exploded onto the field almost immediately. Both teams were clearly still a little rusty from the break, but there was no shortage of energy on the pitch.

This combination led to an exciting, back and forth match with little in the way of clear cut chances. In the end, the match resulted in an exciting 1-1 draw, a result that surely made fans of Zenit St Petersburg happy as the gap between first and second place in the league extended to three points.

Best and Worst Performers

Spartak’s standout player was left back Ayrton. The Brazilian was a winter signing and had a dream debut for the Moscow club, managing a game-high 8.57 rating from WhoScored. Most directly, Ayrton’s brilliant long ball from deep in his own half unlocked Krasnodar’s entire defence in one pass and led to Spartak’s only goal of the game. Less obviously, Ayrton did an excellent job controlling Magomed-Shapi Suleymanov, Krasnodar’s brightest academy product. Shapi has scored five goals in the league this season – all as a substitute – but under Ayrton’s watch, he had a notably quiet game. Spartak will be thrilled with Ayrton’s debut and will hope to see more of the same as the season continues.

Alexander Lomovitsky had a day to forget at Otkritie Arena against Krasnodar. The Spartak academy product provided little-to-no threat on goal from his right midfield position and failed to get involved in build-up play as well. To top it all off, he picked up an injury in the 43rd minute and was forced to be substituted off.

Yuri Gazinsky was Krasnodar’s best player on the night. While he did not manage any flashy stats, he was the steady presence in midfield that Krasnodar needed. He tallied a game-high 107 touches on the ball, and also notched a team-high five interceptions during the game. It was Gazinsky’s authoritative presence in midfield that allowed Krasnodar to grow into the game and possess the ball for 57% of the game against an opponent as strong as Spartak.

Krasnodar’s worst performer on the day was unquestionably Icelandic centre-back Jon Fjolson. He was only included in the starting lineup because Uros Spajic was unable to play, and it showed. Fjoluson’s last start in Europe against Sevilla saw him get caught out of position after a long ball from the oppositions end, which resulted in a goal. Spartak’s goal was of exactly the same manner. Fjoluson allowed Ze Luis to get on his back shoulder and once Ayrton played a long ball, Fjolson was simply beat in a foot race to Krasnodar’s goal. He has shown himself time and time again to not be on Krasnodar’s level, and the club will surely look to reinforce the centre-back position in the summer transfer window.

Teams Lineups

Spartak Moscow (4-4-2): Selikhov – Rasskazov, Bocchetti, Dzhikiya, Ayrton – Lomovitskiy, Guliev, Zobnin, Hanni – Luiz Adriano, Ze Luis

Krasnodar (4-2-3-1): Safonov – Petrov, Martynovich, Fjoluson, Ramirez – Gazinsky, Kabore – Shapi, Pereyra, Wanderson – Claesson

Match Events

Goals: Ze Luis (14′), Pereyra (26′)

Bookings: Hanni (33′), Martynovich (49′), Kabore (52′), Ari (76′), Martynovich (94′)

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Author: Will Baumgardner

College student in the United States and avid Krasnodar fan. Sergey Galitskiy is the man.

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