By Ria Novosti
Lokomotiv Moscow pulled to within a point of second-placed CSKA Moscow with a 2-0 derby win on Saturday that featured Roman Pavlyuchenko’s spectacular first goal for his new club.
Pavlyuchenko struck just ten minutes into the match, collecting the ball 25 yards out and curling a shot inside Sergey Chegchugov’s left-hand post.
The Russian’s in-form strike partner Felipe Caicedo made it two just after the half-hour mark, side footing into an empty net after Pavlyuchenko’s miscued shot squirmed through to the Ecuadorian in the box.
The result heats up the battle for second place with just eight games remaining. Leaders Zenit St. Petersburg are six points clear with Sunday’s game at home to Rubin Kazan in hand.
“We wanted to start very strongly, aggresively, and get the early goal,” Lokomotiv coach Jose Couceiro said.
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky said conceding the early goal was a shock.
“If we hadn’t let in a goal so quickly, then our tactics with two forwards [Seydou Doumbia and Tomas Necid] would have been more effective,” he said.
CSKA had the better of the possession at Luzhniki but it was Lokomotiv who made their chances count, with Pavlyuchenko grabbing his first goal for Lokomotiv in his fourth game since his winter transfer from Tottenham Hotspur.
“Today I said to Roman, ‘Today you will score,’ and he scored,” Couceiro said. ”
Pavlyuchenko had first serious effort, stabbing the ball straight at Guilherme form the edge of the box.
After the visitors went ahead, CSKA opened up the Lokomotiv defense down the right but Alan Dzagoev fired straight at a defender. Winger Ahmed Musa then crossed into thin air with Seydou Doumbia unmarked in the center.
Necid dragged wide from 30 yards on 26 minutes as CSKA began to dominate but without any penetration.
In the second half, CSKA’s Alexei Berezutsky powered into the box and smashed a drive straight at Guilherme, who could only parry away for a corner. Doumbia, the league’s top scorer with 26 goals, headed wide.
CSKA turned the screw as Dzagoev and Zoran Tosic combined down the left only for the Lokomotiv defense to clear the latter’s cross with some panic.
Berezutsky and substitutes Pavel Mamaev and Sekou Oliseh had chances late on but all three blazed off target, leaving Lokomotiv goalkeeper Guilherme underworked by the final whistle.
Pavlyuchenko almost set up a third in injury time with a cutting through ball that Caicedo poked wide.
Earlier Saturday, basement club FC Tomsk earned a goalless draw at home to Krylya Sovetov in a hard-fought relegation scrap.
Later, FC Krasnodar take on Amkar Perm.
Sunday sees FC Rostov play Spartak Nalchik, while Dynamo Moscow take on Spartak Moscow, Rubin Kazan travel to Zenit St. Petersburg and Anzhi play Dan Petrescu’s Kuban.
On Monday, Terek Grozny play FC Volga looking to avenge Thursday’s 2-1 Russian Cup quarterfinal defeat to the Nizhny Novgorod side.