Between “Zenith” and “Spartacus” remains an abyss
Konstantin Krinsky Aug 21, 2023 07:00 UTC Audio Version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
It’s not just about Semak’s win over Abaskal. Column by Konstantin Krinsky.
Do you remember what they said and wrote about Spartak after three initial rounds of the RPL? That the team finally not only staged the game. But also good chances for the championship. And because? Because Malcolm was sold by Zenit, Wendel went to Brazil and overall the champions started the season poorly.
And what did they say and write about Zenit after three RPL headlining days? That the team is not doing well, because it fails in simple games and looks unconvincing. And that now between the blue and whites and the persecutors there is not forever (and after five seasons the sense of time is lost) a dug abyss that does not allow another to reach the title.
The difference is obvious: they talk about the strong Spartak in the context of the drifting Zenith; they talk about the stagnant Zenith in the context of their problems, without mentioning anyone else. That is to say, it was not Spartak that forced him to consider himself one of the favorites of the RPL thanks to his impressive game and results. And Zenit allowed for the first time in a long time to draw attention to the ambitions of other clubs. Such, you know, the local “Arsenal” against the background of the same local “Manchester City”. And the heads-up proved it.
For Spartak, the meeting with Zenit was an exam, first of all, for maturity. And only then – in the will to compete on equal terms until spring. While for Zenit it was a game, so the team gained a little more tone, and the coach experimented with the lineup (Renan and Casierra on the bench, and Mantouan and Alip in the starting lineup).
Guillermo Abascal also fell for the experiments, with a moving figure in the middle (someone calls it a rhombus, but it is still difficult to figure it out to the end). An attempt to play in a new way failed, and the Spartacists did not have any new plans. At such times, the role of leaders increases to the point of impossibility. Douglas Santos, for example, reigned supreme on his flank and adjacent positions, while, say, Promes was downright lost waiting for the ball and support.
I must admit: the quality of football at the central meeting of the RPL turned out to be lousy. Rubilovo prevailed over fiction, especially in the first part. But how does a better team differ from a less impressive one? At a key moment, she turns the game in her favor. Due to individual skill, substitutions, sudden insight, but it doesn’t matter. But she does.
Zenit showed Spartak who is the real champion
Spartak could not do this. Having abandoned the usual game, the team not only lost its previous achievements, but also failed to find new ones (sorry, but it is not necessary to perform complex moves in the middle in a match with a champion). But Zenit got it: half an hour after the start, the ball began to move faster, attacks appeared in a second rhythm, coming out of the pressure, passes to the fight were replaced by passes into free space.
Sergei Semak’s team just got on the rails of last year, without inventing anything. And he managed without the main star – Malcolm. Now his role, in terms of stardom, will apparently be played by Wendel. Everything is like the good old days. And Guillermo Abascal’s team, even emotionally euphoric before the most important game, squandered all the advantage over the “main rival”. We wanted to surprise. And it really worked! Now Zenit is ahead of Spartak by one point.
In the table between Zenit and Spartak there is only one hole. But in terms of approach and sentiment in the big parties, there is still an abyss. It will become a tournament, as in previous seasons, we’ll see. But this meeting made it clear: while the rojiblancos are not willing to reduce the distance with the hegemony.