On This Day: CSKA and Spartak play last derby in the Luzhniki

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On 21 April 2013, Luzhniki stadium hosted the main Moscow derby for the last time before closing for 2018 FIFA World Cup reconstruction.

Before CSKA and Spartak had their own arenas, their battles visited all the main stadiums of the capital. In the 1990s, the Red-Whites hosted their opponents several times at Lokomotiv Arena in Cherkizovo, but the rest of the time they did so at the Luzhniki. The Army team played home games against Spartak at Dynamo's Petrovsky Park, at Torpedo's ground on Vostochnaya Street, and at Khimki Arena. 

In 2008 and 2009, both teams RPL meetings were held at the Luzhniki. In the 2011/12 transition season, CSKA and Spartak played each other there five times, taking into account the Russian Cup.

In 2010, Russia officially received the right to host the 2018 World Cup, and the largest arena in Moscow was given the opening match and the final of the tournament. In the autumn of 2012, the general director of the facility, Aleksandr Pronin, said that the following spring's RPL matches would be the last for the stadium, and after the August athletics World Championships, it would be closed for preparation for the football World Cup. 

The second CSKA-Spartak derby of the season fell in the spring. The first one had taken place in the same Luzhniki stadium in October and ended with a 2-0 victory for the Armymen thanks to goals from Ahmed Musa and Keisuke Honda.

Since the meeting in the first round, CSKA had overhauled Anzhi's lead in the RPL and were approaching their first title since 2006. Spartak sacked Unai Emery and reinstated Valery Karpin as manager. In July 2009, he participated in the derby with CSKA for the first time as a coach, as his charges won 2-1 thanks to Alex's double.

The last meeting of the teams in the Luzhniki was attended by 67,740 fans, and this remains one of the most attended matches in the history of the RPL. At the end of the first half, Spartak took the lead through Aiden McGeady. Ari scored the second goal immediately after the break, and Vagner Love failed to convert a penalty against Andrey Dikan. 

Later CSKA's Brazilian legend atoned for his error by assisting Musa, and in added time earned a second penalty, from which Alan Dzagoev equalised. CSKA manager Leonid Slutskiy was happy with the 2-2 score as if it were a victory. 

"The beginning of the second half was just a disaster," he said in a flash interview after the game. "The second goal and an unforgettable penalty. It seemed that everything was over, and it was unlikely that we would find the strength to level the game, but nevertheless we did it. Such a draw is more valuable than many victories."

The emotions of Spartak's Dikan were completely different. "It's a shame to the point of tears. If I were a girl, I'd probably cry. There are no words."

After the derby, the Red and Whites played two more matches at the stadium. On 28 April, they beat Anzhi 2-0, and on 10 May against Krylia Sovetov Samara they held a farewell ceremony for the arena. The last goals in that incarnation of the Luzhniki were scored by Marek Sukhi and Petr Nemov, as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. 

At the end of the season, Spartak finished fourth as CSKA were crowned champions. In November demolition work began on the arena, and exactly four years later, the updated Luzhniki stadium with completely rebuilt stands but preserved historical facade hosted its first game: the Russian national team lost 1-0 to Argentina in a friendly match. 

During this time, CSKA and Spartak rented other stadiums in the capital, after which they moved to their own arenas within two years of each other. However, after the World Cup, CSKA returned to the Luzhniki to play three Champions League matches. Viktor Goncharenko's team lost to AS Roma and Czech side Viktoria Plzen, but beat the reigning champions Real Madrid.

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