The first quarterfinal encounter of the Fonbet Russian Cup RPL Path that was held at VTB Arena, ended in a 1:0 win.
Marcel Licka repeated the line-up that had finished the derby stunning second half against CSKA. Only the goalkeeping position underwent changes. Anton Shunin came to the pitch in his 358th game for Dynamo and levelled the great Lev Yashin's match record. The Saint Petersburg side also fielded their competitive squad.
The teams started the match cautiously, because its importance prevailed. In the first 20 minutes, both sides struck only one time for two – Wilmar Barrios fired above the crossbar from outside the penalty area. In another episode, Jorge Carrascal stepped on Wilmar's foot and was awarded a yellow card for this foul.
The Colombian played with great desire and made an obvious contribution to the impressive five-minute period of the white-blue activity. Carrascal dragged the ball past several opponents and rolled it out to Nicolas Ngamaleu, whose effort was blocked by the defender. In his turn, Konstantin Tyukavin could have scored twice. Denis Adamov denied his first shot from distance, and a few seconds later Kostya failed to capitalise on Sergey Parshivlyuk's cool cross.
As always, Dmitry Skopintsev stood out with his dribbling skills on the left wing. The number 7 struck wide from outside the penalty box. Dynamo played attentively at their own goal, not allowing the St. Petersburg side to demonstrate their technique. We can name only one shot by Claudinho, when the ball passed next to the post.
In added time to the first half, Tyukavin had the most realistic chance to open the score. Bitello delivered an excellent pass to the center of the penalty area. Kostya won the aerial duel, and only Adamov's great reaction prevented the hosts from registering their lead.
The Petersburgers started the second half having visible advantage and focused on shots from distance. However, neither Ivan Sergeyev, nor Claudinho, nor Daniil Krugovoy could strike on target. The most dangerous attempt at the hosts' goal came up after Fabian Balbuena's mistake, when only the selfless play by Roberto Fernandez saved Dynamo from big troubles.
But they were added by the first referee. In the 69th minute, Pavel Kukuyan saw Carrascal's foul on Wilson Isidor in the midfield, although it was clear on the replay that the Colombian had played the ball. As a result, Jorge saw a second yellow in front of him and went to the dressing room.
Soon Fedor Smolov appeared on the pitch, replacing Tyukavin. He was going to be a hero of the match. With his first touch, Dynamo centre-forward handled the ball superbly and then led Ngamaleu into the breakthrough down the wing. The Cameroonian ran away from Nuraly Alip and rolled the ball back to Smolov, who packed it exactly into the corner!
In the remaining time, Dynamo were concentrated on maintaining their lead and did not allow anything to be created at their goal. Zenit were left with zero shots on target.
The return game will be held in St. Petersburg in March. In the next RPL match Dynamo will face Rubin Kazan on December 4.