Despotovic, Komlichenko and Guilherme among RPL matchday 21 Man of the Match winners

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Matchday 21 of the Russian Premier Liga, dedicated to the memory of Igor Netto, was rich in intrigue and drama. Zenit St. Petersburg’s lead was cut to six points, FC Rostov and CSKA Moscow shared five goals, three penalties and two red cards while FC Sochi won their first RPL game since September.

Of the many outstanding performances, these players were chosen by the official broadcaster as Man of the Match in their respective fixtures.

FC Orenburg 2-0 Arsenal Tula
Man of the Match: Djordje Despotovic

The Serbian striker hit a brace to help FC Orenburg to their first home win since October, taking his tally to eight for the season. He was alert to Mikhail Levashov’s heavy touch to break the deadlock early on before a perfectly-timed header sealed the win with quarter of an hour to go.

Dynamo Moscow 1-0 FC Tambov
Man of the Match: Nikolay Komlichenko

Dynamo’s new signing acrobatically scored the only goal of the game on his first competitive start for his new club. Earlier he had finished an intricate touch-and-go move but saw it ruled out for a marginal offside decision by VAR.

Rubin Kazan 0-1 Krylia Sovetov Samara
Man of the Match: Denis Popovic

Rubin Kazan’s sluggish start to the season was compounded by Popovic’s strike just before half time at Centralniy Stadium. His second goal of the season makes him Krylia Sovetov’s joint-top goalscorer after Aleksandr Sobolev’s departure.

FC Sochi 2-0 FC Ural Ekaterinburg
Man of the Match: Andrey Mostovoy

Andrey Mostovoy hit his fourth goal of the season to make him FC Sochi’s top goalscorer. Aside from showing the instinct to be in the right place at the right time for his close-range finish, he created chances for his teammates as well as providing the pre-assist for Kirill Zaika’s clincher.

Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 Akhmat Grozny
Man of the Match: Marinato Guilherme

In truth Lokomotiv Moscow made harder work of this win than many expected them to, but they only held onto the three points thanks to their veteran keeper. Guilherme’s defining moment was the penalty save from Felipe Vizeu.

FC Rostov 3-2 CSKA Moscow
Man of the Match: Roman Eremenko

Eremenko’s thunderbolt that crashed in off the crossbar was arguably the standout moment of a barnstorming match. The former CSKA midfielder was at the centre of everything for FC Rostov; scoring the equaliser to make it 1-1, missing a penalty and conducting attacks.

Spartak Moscow 0-1 FC Krasnodar
Man of the Match: Matvey Safonov

Spartak Moscow had won two derbies in impressive fashion prior to this game and were full of confidence. Matvey Safonov was in solid form, saving all four shots on target and completing 83% of his passes.

Zenit St. Petersburg 0-0 FC Ufa
Man of the Match: Bojan Jokic

FC Ufa’s captain was one of the key components that maintained the RPL’s second-tightest defensive record against the league’s most lethal attack. He completed one key pass and won half of his challenges to keep Zenit at bay.


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