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Home News 1940s-inspired stylization, a visit to Mamaev Kurgan, goals by Pavlyuchenko and Samedov: Spartak defeats Dynamo in a retro match
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1940s-inspired stylization, a visit to Mamaev Kurgan, goals by Pavlyuchenko and Samedov: Spartak defeats Dynamo in a retro match

Photo by Frank Okay on Unsplash

The Volgograd was a great gift soccer fans for the May holidays. Its holding was important for two reasons at once. First, it was timed to the 80th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad and was based on the memorable meeting between the Stalingrad Dynamo and Spartak. On May 2, 1943 it was organized literally “on the ruins of the city”, to show that even months of heavy devastating fights had not broken people’s thirst for life. Like 80 years ago, the confrontation aroused great interest among the citizens, and almost all the seats at the Volgograd Arena were occupied. Second, the RFU continued the practice of replay matches. Last year Zenit and Spartak met twice, and both games were a sensation.

This time the organizers did their best for the spectators to feel the atmosphere of that time. The opponents wore their old uniforms: white shirts with blue stripes and shorts for the home team and red shirts with white stripes and black shorts for the guests. They also made special red balls with characteristic ’40s lacing and “Victory” inscription. Attention was paid even to the little things. Thus, the players arrived at the arena in retro vans, and before the kickoff, according to the Soviet tradition, they exchanged bunches of flowers.

No less interesting, than the entourage, the game itself promised to be. The Red-Whites looked the favorites. Oleg Romancev, who led them to the championship nine times, brought together not only the stars of his “golden team” (Yegor Titov, Dmitry Alenichev, Alexander Mostovoy and others), but also the younger players who helped defeat Zenit last September: Andrey Yeshenko, Dmitry Kombarov, Alexander Samedov and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

“Dinamo, on the other hand, was formed largely from the protagonists of Rotor, which in the 1990s repeatedly won Russian championship medals and reached the final of the National Cup, and the Moscow team of the same name. It was represented not only by players (Igor Semshov, Igor Simutenkov, Alexander Tochilin), but also by head coach Valery Gazzaev.

The two coaches at once denied the assumption that the opponents could play for a friendly draw, and that they would not give 100%. Thus, Romantsev promised that the Red and White would show beautiful soccer.

“Any score will do, just not 0:0. I have a positive attitude to such matches. I like it a lot. I see the players we and “Dynamo”, who finished early. They could please&the&fans&and the&result&of&the&teams. That’s why I go to such games with great pleasure,” Sport-Express quotes the specialist as saying.

In turn, Gazzaev underlined that no one would want to concede in such a confrontation. The leaders of the teams also expressed their most serious attitude.

“It will not be the case that we will agree to play in a draw. I think that the fans will come to the stadium with great pleasure. For our part we will show beautiful soccer”, Pavlyuchenko promised.

It is important that the participants of the match were not only getting ready to demonstrate their skills on the field, but also paid tribute to the soldiers who defended their homeland in the Great Patriotic War. On the day of the game they all in full complement visited the memorial complex on Mamaev Kurgan and laid flowers at the Eternal Flame. For some of them this visit had a special meaning, for example former Spartak midfielder Denis Boyarintsev.

“My grandfather – Valentin Fyodorovich Boyarintsev – was born in Stalingrad, he took his first battle here. He had just turned 18. Then he went from Stalingrad to Prague. I went to the mound with my grandmother; one of her friends, a soldier, told me: “And here we went hand to hand…”. I didn’t remember my grandfather – I was only four months old when he died,” RB-Sport quotes Boyarintsev as saying.

Then the players took part in the campaign The Garden of Memory aimed at planting 27 million trees in memory of everyone who died in the Great Patriotic War. They planted 45 maples and plum trees, which will now bloom in the Central Park of Culture and Recreation.

“We all need to remember and preserve the memory of our ancestors’ deeds in every way possible. I hope both this action and today’s victory retro-match will remind residents of Volgograd and Russia of the heroism of people who selflessly defended this city,” – noted Mostovoy.

Tribute to the memory of the defenders of the Fatherland gathered just before the starting whistle. The children brought a huge St. George’s ribbon. Meanwhile, the screens showed a video of the players of both teams reciting Konstantin Simonov’s immortal poem “Wait for Me”.

Symbolically, the honor of striking the first shot was bestowed upon the main veteran of national soccer, Nikita Simonyan. The 96-year-old Olympic champion first made a pass to one captain – Oleg Veretennikov, and then to another one – Alenichev, and hugged them both warmly. The crowd gave the legend a standing ovation.

As for the starting lineup, before the match Romantsev had promised to field the same players who had scored the 1997 away win over Rotor in the last matchday of the national championship. It was not a complete match, but almost all the players from that game actually made it into the squad. Only Andrey Tikhonov wasn’t able to get on the pitch because of an injury, but helped the coach on the wing. There were enough players in the Dynamo squad who had played in that memorable game.

As expected, the Muscovites seized the initiative from the start. To the delight of the fans, they played their trademark Spartak soccer with lots of scoring and running. The Bilo-Syni, on the other hand, were focused on the second half. At the same time, their entire game in the center of the field was led by the relatively recently graduated Evgeni Aldonin and Igor Semshov, who didn’t even make substitutions. Valeriy Yesipov was responsible for the creativity up front, just like 20 years ago, handing out filigree long passes.

But more often Platon Zakharchuk had to come on as a defender. The latter helped his teammates out on a regular basis. It was particularly difficult for the hosts when young Pavlyuchenko, Kombarov, Eschenko and Aleksandr Pavlenko came on the pitch. They easily outrun their older rivals at speed but they did it through effort. Look at the stunning save by Zakharchuk when Pavlenko was face to face with him and tried to cross, but Platon played the ball with fingertips to the corner. But his opposite side Alexandr Filimonov was almost out of work. It should also be noted the appearance of Mostovoy in the visitors’ line-up. Alexander lamented that he was not invited to the retro matches with Zenit, and in Volgograd he was on the field for a few minutes, although he recently checked out of the hospital.

The pace of the game remained unchanged in the second half. The visitors continued to attack while the hosts locked themselves in defense. However, the Muscovites lacked shots each time. They tried to play the ball to the delight of the crowd, but could not score. Volgograd players under the leadership of Gazzaev acted reliably and selflessly. By the way, the coach acted as if it was an official match. He regularly came out to the line of scrimmage and gave some hints to his charges though they could hardly hear him over the boos of the stands.

Still, in the end, when the penalty shootout was getting closer and closer, Spartak opened the scoring. It was Pavlyuchenko, a ROTOR pupil. The visitors scored not in the traditional style, but rather in the British manner: Pavlenko sent in a cross, and his teammate headed it. The replay showed that the forward was offside, but there was no VAR 80 years ago to check the episode.

“I didn’t want to score, to be honest. When I sent the ball into the goal, such a rumble went up in the stadium… I didn’t want to, but what to do. I apologized. The task was to put on a show. I think the fans were satisfied. It doesn`t matter who won. The main thing is friendship and atmosphere. I think it was a good match,” Pavlyuchenko said after the final whistle.

Dynamo had no strength left for the finish. Moreover, they conceded more in the last minute. A perfect cross by Alenichev was converted by Samedov. As Veretennikov lamented, Romantsev’s charges were simply much younger and at the expense of this took the victory.

However, the most important thing was that both teams made a celebration for spectators and honored the memory of the soldiers who defended their homeland in the Great Patriotic War.

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