RPL kick off key events: Dzyuba scores again against newcomers, Dzagoev breaks two-year drought

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We have summed up the results of Matchday 1 of the 2020/21 RPL season. 

The 1st goal of the new season was scored by CSKA midfielder Konstantin Kuchaev: he scored in the 19th minute of the opening match against FC Khimki, which is also his first RPL goal. The 22-year-old is the second CSKA player in the history of the RPL to score the first goal of the season. The first was Keisuke Honda in 2010: in the opening match against Amkar, the Japanese scored a goal in the 90th minute, and the Red-Blues won 1-0. Both Honda and Kuchaev scored those goals at the same stadium: Khimki Arena.

Two teams at the end of the matchday picked up points at home. Arsenal drew with Akhmat Grozny in Tula, as did Spartak with Sochi at the Otkiritie Arena, while the rest of the home teams lost. Also, the Red-Whites were the only ones to actually score against the visitors: Aleksandr Sobolev and Jordan Larsson found the back of FC Sochi's net. By contrast, on matchday 1 of the 2019/20 season six matches were won by the hosts, with the remaining two matches ending in draws: Arsenal vs Dynamo and Lokomotiv vs Rubin both finished 1-1.

All three goals that Pavel Mamaev has scored for Rostov have helped his team to win. In March, the midfielder scored against CSKA Moscow after coming on as a substitute, and Rostov came out on top 3-2. In June, the 31-year-old opened the scoring in the first minute of the match against Arsenal, and the Yellow-Blues won 2-1. In the opening match of the new season, Mamaev's goal brought Valery Karpin's team a 1-0 victory over Tambov. Rostov have won on the first matchday for the last three years; their last opening-day defeat was in August 2014 when they were soundly beaten 7-3 by Dynamo.

For the sixth consecutive season, Arsenal have failed to kick off their RPL campaign with a win. They've lost three times on the first matchday without scoring - 4-0 against Zenit (2014) and Spartak (2016) and 1-0 against Lokomotiv (2017) - and for the third year in a row they have started with a draw. After draws with Dynamo in 2018 and 2019, the Gunners could not beat Akhmat as it finished goalless. Incidentally, Akhmat manager Andrey Talalaev again started his career with an RPL team without a victory. His debut matches with FC Rostov in 2011, Krylia Sovetov in July and now Akhmat have ended as draws, while he lost 3-0 to CSKA with Volga Nizhny Novgorod in 2014.

For almost seven years Dynamo failed to beat Ural in Ekaterinburg, but broke the run thanks to goals from Clinton N'jie and Sylvester Igboun. The Blue-Whites had won their first and only away victory over Ural in September 2013, when the home team's stadium was called 'Centralny'. The score was opened by Aleksandr Kokorin, and by half-time Andrey Voronin had scored a hat-trick. The hosts replied through Spartak Gogniev as the visitors ran out 4-1 winners. The next three meetings in Ekaterinburg ended level, and on 9 July, Ural won 2-1 thanks to a late goal by ex-Dynamo striker Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Remy Cabella scored the ninth double of his career, and for the first time he managed to do it in Krasnodar. The midfielder scored twice as the Black-Greens defeated FC Ufa 3-0. The 30-year-old Frenchman had scored all his previous doubles at home: four at Montpellier, and two each for Saint-Etienne and Marseille. They were evenly distributed between tournaments - four each in Ligue 1 and the French Cup. Cabella scored his last double in France in January 2019 for Saint-Etienne in a 6-0 cup win against Olympique de Strasbourg.

For 18 years, Zenit have not lost at the very start of the league season. The only time they did was in the first season in the history of the RPL. In March 2002, Zenit lost their opening match to Anzhi 2-0 after which they started each season with at least one point. The reigning champions' current run on opening matchdays stands at four wins in a row. In these matches, Zenit have beaten RPL debutants: SKA-Khabarovsk in 2017, Enisey Krasnoyarsk in 2018, FC Tambov in 2019 and now Rotor Volgograd. The Blue-White-Sky Blues have scored twice in each of these games against newcomers, and in the last three games Artem Dzyuba scored the winning goals. The last time Zenit dropped points on the first matchday was in 2016, when they drew 0-0 with Lokomotiv at the Petrovsky stadium.

It took Lokomotiv 26 minutes to score two goals against Rubin, and Dmitry Rybchinsky provided the assist in both successful attacks. In the second minute, the midfielder laid on a goal for Aleksey Miranchuk, on the 26th for Dmitry Barinov. He was later named man of the match. The 21-year-old also completed his first effective action in the RPL on 27 June in the Kazan, and the result was the same; Aleksey Miranchuk scored from his pass, and the Railwaymen beat Rubin 2-0.

Alan Dzagoev's goalless streak lasted 29 months before the meeting with FC Khimki. He scored his debut goal in the RPL in May 2008. In the opening match of the season, the 30-year-old made the starting line-up and scored at the end of the first half. Konstantin Kuchaev made an assist for Dzagoev and did the same when Alan scored his last two goals in official games. In February 2018, from his young teammate's pass, Dzagoev scored the only goal of the game against Crvena Zvezda in the Europa League round of 32 return leg (CSKA won 1-0 and went through to the next round) while in March he brought the Armymen victory over Ural by the same scoreline in the RPL.

Photo: Denis Tyrin/CSKA Moscow


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