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Friday, September 29, 2023
HomeSportsSemak outwitted Abaskal. He assisted Jikia's winning own goal.

Semak outwitted Abaskal. He assisted Jikia’s winning own goal.

Date: September 29, 2023 Time: 16:12:53

It does not matter in which round of the championship it is happening and in which places Spartak and Zenit are fighting. The most fashionable concept in the league, since the mid-2000s, is the “derby of the two capitals”. Even despite the fact that Spartak has extremely unpleasant statistics with the champion of the last five years, each next match is a new story, to which millions of eyes are riveted throughout the country.

The two most popular clubs in Russia once again had to decide who is stronger here and now. Nobody even thinks to draw analytical conclusions about the previous matches and about how the clubs got to the fifth round and the full-time match. All over again.


Andrei Anosov / “Sovsport”

Guillermo Abascal once again preferred the more attacking Daniil Khlusevich to the more defensive Oleg Ryabchuk. The Moldovan clearly debuted at the base specifically for the Russian Brazilian Mario Fernández. On the other hand, in midfield, instead of quality defenders Roman Zobnin and Ruslan Litvinov (he had doubts after the game against Ural in Yekaterinburg), there are players with an emphasis on attack: Jesús Medina and Victor Mozes. That is, according to the plan of the coaching staff, Spartak should play with an emphasis on possession of the ball.


Andrei Anosov / “Sovsport”

It is not the first time this season that Zenit starts a game with three central defenders. There is a high probability that Sergei Semak specially trained this scheme in previous rounds specifically for Spartak. But the choice of defenders was still surprising: Vyacheslav Karavaev is not the center back, and Nuraly Alip is clearly not the first choice for defense.

It is also curious that the mentor of the Saint Petersburg club preferred the attacking duo Mateo Cassierra – Mantua (against Fakel he played 3-5-2 with Ivan Sergeyev and Cassierra at the base), and now he preferred the forward profile to that of the Brazilian, depriving himself of the opportunity to score from the ‘second floor.’” Apparently, Zenit’s coaching staff had high-speed attacks that the active Brazilian had to match: Claudinho, Wendel and Mantouan.

Andrei Anosov / “Sovsport”


Surprisingly, in the first fifteen minutes, teams that don’t sit defensively and don’t make it their mandatory goal to keep the net dry didn’t create anything special up front. There was electricity, charging, voltage from the stands and the general message: a super game, but there was no danger. Only in the twentieth minute the St. Petersburg club was able to organize something intelligible, but those attack attempts that were visible were not expressed in details. A couple of shots from Zenith, one of which was a kick from Vyacheslav Karavaev, but it was too far from Ilya Svinov’s target.

Significant changes in the composition of Spartak took place closer to the 30th minute. Víctor Moisés was placed under strict guardianship, he was injured, and the rojiblancos coaches were forced to make a substitution. Roman Zobnin entered the field by position.


Both teams tried to break each other’s game with the help of pressing, but the hosts did noticeably worse. The ‘Zenith’, due to the numerical advantage in the initial stretch of the attack, easily overcame the rival’s pressure, but in front they caught the rojiblancos wonderfully in the defense exit. Douglas Santos, who rose high, intercepted Medina’s pass and set up a one-on-one for Sergeyev. The ball, after hitting the striker, hit the crossbar.


In all previous matches, the main problem for Spartak was the game in the support zone, from which, for example, two goals came in Yekaterinburg. Abascal never knew how to close the area. What’s more, as if he didn’t try, he ends up leaving it to Christopher Martins. In the episode with the missed ball, the Luxembourger pressed too close to the penalty line and was unable to prevent Wendel, who was occupying the position correctly, from taking advantage of the rebound and shooting a corner kick with his sight. To the delight of the guests, Giorgi Jikia also staged a high-quality rebound on his own net.

Andrei Anosov / “Sovsport”


For the locals, Zenit’s goal was like a shower of cold water (despite the fact that Spartak fits in every day). After a missed goal, the team finally got lost on the pitch and the guests easily disrupted all activity just outside their own penalty area. In the first half, Abascal’s plan didn’t work at all. It is significant that in 45 minutes the rojiblancos made only a couple of hits, and Quincy Promes and Mikhail Ignatov were left out of the game, they made only 15 hits, that is, one every three minutes.


Spartak started the second half in a very active way. Powerful attacks from the first moment and biting shots from outside the penalty area, although everything is in the “milk”. The pressure never stopped. After an attempt by Promes, Roman Zobnin hit the next shot, but Mikhail Kerzhakov managed to get the ball into the right corner of the goal.

After Theo Bongonda and Nail Umyarov appeared on the field, the rojiblancos players went back to the old attacking model, with quick runs from the wings along the wings and quick moves by Promes, Zobnin and Martins to the central zone, from where they came almost all threats. “Zenith” in these minutes only frantically defended itself. One indicator of how the game has changed after the break: Through the first 20 minutes of the second half, the hit stat was 7-1.


But all this activity was crossed out by a quick counterattack from the guests. Pass from midfield against Claudinho, and Wendel, coming out to meet Svinov, clearly put the ball into the right corner. Mantuan classically forced the fight on Duarte. The Paraguayan turned, got lost and missed the Brazilian.

Andrei Anosov / “Sovsport”


But referee Sergei Karasev in the 79th minute gave Spartak hope to save themselves. Wilmar Barrios played in the fight against Sobolev with the hand and the referee signaled the point. Sobolev himself noticed the penalty. With 15 minutes left to go, the players of the capital club were forced to press to save the early game. Recently, the scourge of “Zenith” is the last minutes of matches, so the next lost points were not included in Semak’s plans.

Andrei Anosov / “Sovsport”

Already in the discount, Mateo Kasseier snatched the ball from the Spartak defenders and clearly finished off the goal, putting a bullet in this game. “Spartak” could not collect the keys to the gates of “Zenith”, and only managed to score from the penalty spot. Peter is stronger.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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