Unused subs: Maksimenko, Gaponov, Ignatov.
Spartak have won the Fonbet Match Premier Cup, with Oleg Kononov’s side convincingly overcoming Lokomotiv in the final game. Leonid Fedun was present to congratulate the team on that success. Spartak won all three games in Qatar with the aggregate score 9-1, which is a solid return for pre-season. It’s always nice to win games, even if their primary aim is building fitness. Winning naturally also allows to gain in confidence, however in Qatar winning wasn’t the end of it — especially if winning came at a cost. That’s why the coaching staff decided to rest Luiz Adriano and Dmitri Kombarov, as a precaution — both should join in at full training during our third pre-season tour, in Turkey. Almost all the subs were pre-planned too. The staff and the players kept in mind the cup was just a stepping stone for the season, which will resume in March. They were wary there is still a lot of work to do in Turkey as well. However the main talking point remains: the team started to show signs of our trademark style, even if only for in-game periods. You can see the coach’s work is starting to tell...
Spartak went ahead 42 seconds in. Ayrton was the man to make an early mark. Ze Luis noticed his run and put the Brazilian through with a fine pass. Ayrton’s headed the ball home from the rebound after his initial effort was saved.
Loko woke up after the goal: Farfan and Anton Miranchuk unleashed a couple of good shots, but they were just wide. Spartak responded with a good attack on 15 minutes, which resulted in Lomovitski being brought down inside the box, but neither the main referee, nor the linesman (who saw the episode unfold right in front of him) signalled for a foul.
23rd minute marked a brilliant save from Selikhov:the keeper reacted well to a close-range header from Chorluka. The stop was closely followed by Dzhikiya’s timely sliding tackle, which prevented Smolov from going clean through. Lokomotiv looked on top for a while — and then conceded on the counter. Lomovitski robbed Chorluka in midfield, burst into the box and guided his powerful effort past Guilherme and into the near corner. Hopefully a goal to translate into official matches come March.
4 minutes before the break Tashaev had a goal ruled out for offside, followed by a chance which nearly fell to Ze Luis, but Guilherme rushed out to deny our striker a shot at goal.
At the break Oleg Kononov made a number of changes. Ayrton moved to the right wing with Melgarejo coming in on the left. Gyliev replaced Zobnin in the holding position, while Melkadze and Rocha came on for Tashaev and Lomovitski. The game became an open encounter, with Spartak proving the more assertive. Pedro Rocha could have widened the margin in minute 63, but his headed effort was just wide. Loko only had Eder’s effort to show in that time period. They also threatened from set-pieces, however Selikhov proved equal to any danger coming his way.
Ze Luis put the game to bed in the end. Twice Pedro Rocha turned provider: first his cutback was met with a thumping effort under the bar, then he sent Ze one-on-one for the fourth.
After the game Denis Glushakov raised the 17-kilo trophy above his head and the trophy itself will be on display in our Hall of Fame in the coming days.