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Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Cherkizovo Report: Lokomotiv 3 Amkar 0

Lokomotiv is on cruise control as they glided to yet another comfortable victory, 3-0 over Amkar tonight, without Captain Corluka patrolling the penalty box or General Cherevchenko pulling the strings from the sidelines. Both were serving suspensions for being sent off against CSKA. Corluka was replaced by Mykhalyk as the only change from our typical Russian league lineup this season.

It was a chilly night at Cherkizovo and there was a small crowd that was announced as 7,000. It was definitely less though. 4,000 perhaps. Despite the great success of the club this year, attendance is still disappointing for a European-caliber team playing exciting football in a city with an official population of about 12,000,000.

The team is good. Where are the fans?
Loko had the advantage in the opening stages and after having a goal disallowed for off-sides, it was only a matter of time before they struck. In the 28th minute, Niasse tore down the right side and laid the ball back to N'Dinga whose smash was saved by the Permian keeper Selikhov, but right back out to Niasse. He crossed it in to Kasaev who back-heeled it to a sliding Kolomeytsev and he guided it in for the first goal. Loko seemed to take their foot off the gas at that point and coasted into the locker room with the lead.

Logashov replaced the apparently-injured Mykhalyk at the half and Loko continued their passive dominance. They seemed to be content with the 1-0 lead, but the introduction of fan favorite Aleksey Miranchuk spiced things up and he had a good shot attempt saved. In the 78th minute, Samedov played Miranchuk into a good position and his shot was again saved, but this time the rebound bounced back to Samedov who made sure we were comfortably 2-0 in front.

Finally in the 86th minute, Miranchuk found his well-deserved goal. Niasse sped towards the goal on a counterattack, drew the defenders, and passed to an open Miranchuk who controlled the ball, wheeled around the goalkeeper, and poked it into the back of the net to seal a 3-0 win for the red and green.

I think what impressed me the most about this victory was how routine it was. There have been many similar wins this season where Loko controlled from beginning to end and defeat never even seemed likely. This never happened last season. The remarkable turnaround continues. The win takes us back up to 2nd place where we stand alone heading into the international break. 2nd in Russia, 1st place in Group H of the Europe League, and alive and kicking in the Russian Cup. It almost seems too good to be true.

Andy Tedrick

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