Late Sobolev penalty breaks Ufa hearts

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Ufa 1-1 Spartak Moscow
Monday 29 November, Betboom Arena

Goals: Ufa - Nikitin 70’; Spartak - Sobolev (pen) 90+5’
Man of the Match: Bojan Jokic (Ufa)

A turgid first half saw little goalmouth action of note - there wasn’t a single shot on target before the break - but the second half at least showed signs of sparking into life.

Ayrton Lucas had the first major chance of the game about 10 minutes into the second period when a breakaway saw acres of space for him open up down the left channel. His drilled shot drew a solid reaction save from Aleksandr Belenov, the rebound from which Aleksandr Sobolev blazed wildly over first time.

Ruslan Fishchenko came closest for the hosts a few moments later when he did his best while off balance to turn a shot goalwards from inside the penalty area, but his skewed effort flew just over.

By now Spartak were relatively dominant in terms of possession, playing more than twice as many completed passes as Ufa in the opening hour or so, but still struggling to make incisive breakthroughs.

Their lack of cutting edge came back to haunt them with 20 minutes left as Aleksey Nikitn volleyed in a simple chance. Yuri Zhuravlev flung himself at a deep cross with a diving header that Aleksandr Selikhov could only palm back out for the veteran defender to push past the Spartak keeper.

Selikhov pulled off a stunning save in the closing minutes to deny Filip Mrzljak from close range, his save from low down deflecting up onto the crossbar. Hopes of a dramatic late equaliser seemed even more distant when Nikolay Rasskazov was sent off less than 20 minutes after coming off the bench.

Just when all hope seemed lost, a reprieve came in the last minute of added time. Ufa’s goal hero Nikitin raised an elbow that made contact with Aleksandr Sobolev’s face, and after a brief VAR consultation Pavel Kukuyan pointed to the spot. Sobolev dusted himself down to smash home the penalty.

There was still time for a heart-stopping moment at the other end as Selikhov scrambled to recover from a spilled shot, but Spartak emerged with a point.

Ufa stay 12th on 16 points, while Spartak remain 10th 20 points.

Next RPL fixtures: Saturday 4 December - Spartak vs Akhmat; Sunday 5 December - Dynamo vs Ufa

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