Maksimenko heroics keep FC Orenburg fightback at bay

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FC Orenburg 1-3 Spartak Moscow

Saturday 14 March, Gazovik Stadium

Goals: Fameyeh (17’); Ponce (45’), Larsson (71’), Mirzov (90’+4)

Man of the Match: Aleksandr Maksimenko

Aleksandr Maksimenko was almost unbeatable as Spartak Moscow came back from Joel Fameyeh’s early header to win 3-1. Ezequiel Ponce equalised on the stroke of half time before Jordan Larsson’s stunner and Reziuan Mirzov’s last-gasp breakaway sealed the win.

Djordje Despotovic beat the offside trap after a quarter of an hour as Dzhikia switched off, but Maksimenko was off his line quickly to deflect it behind. From the corner, the ball fell to Fameyeh unmarked three yards out to nod home a simple finish.

Five minutes before the break, Spartak finally had an attempt on target. Zelimkhan Bakaev - who had been relatively quiet up until that point - curled a left-wing cross in towards Ezequiel Ponce, whose header was tipped over the bar safely by Andrey Klimovich.

Then on the stroke of half time Ponce struck to draw Spartak level. Pavel Maslov - making his debut - swung a deep cross in which Aleksandr Sobolev headed down to his strike partner Ponce to acrobatically volley in from close range.

Shortly before the hour mark Spartak began to step up the pressure with a flurry of attacks. One, orchestrated by Bakaev, saw Domenico Tedesco’s playmaker thread a beautifully weighted ball inside Malykh to Ayrton, but his low cross flew across the six-yard box past everyone.

Maksimenko maintained parity twice after 65 minutes, blocking first Despotovic - who had found himself through on goal after Fameyeh’s pass - then Fameyeh himself was found in space over the top.

With less than 20 minutes left though the visitors were in front. Samuel Gigot had dribbled from the halfway line after dispossessing Ricardo Alves before slipping the ball to Jordan Larsson on the edge of the box. After skipping past a couple of challenges, there was nothing Klimovich could do about the Swede’s stunning shot.

Terekhov swung a cross in from the left to Despotovic with 12 minutes left but the Serbian’s header clipped the crossbar and went over. Five minutes later Fedor Chernykh’s header from Danijel Miskic’s cross was heading for the bottom corner before Maksimenko held it a full stretch.

In the last of four minutes added on Spartak survived a frantic goalmouth scramble before breaking away through substitute Reziuan Mirzov. The forward kept his cool to slide a careful finish into the bottom corner with the last touch of the match.

FC Orenburg next play Lokomotiv Moscow away on Saturday 21 March, while Spartak Moscow travel to face Arsenal Tula on the same day.

FC Orenburg: Klimovich, Zotov, Terekhov, Radakovic, Ayupov, Malykh, Miskic, Kuat, Alves (Chernykh 75’), Fameyeh, Despotovic (Sylla 79’)

Spartak Moscow: Maksimenko, Maslov, Gigot, Dzhikia, Rasskazov (Eshchenko 59’), Kral, Bakaev (Melgarejo 73’), Ayrton, Larsson, Ponce (Mirzov 73’), Sobolev

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