Lokomotiv Moscow have topped rookies from Mordovia Sransk in a 3-2 thriller in the opening match of the 2012/13 Russian Premier League season.
The clash in Saransk was Slaven Bilic's debut at the helm with Lokomotiv.
And it didn’t start according to the plan of the former Croatia coach, as Mordovia took the lead on the 16th minute of play.
Kirill Panchenko scored his team’s first-ever top flight goal with a stunning blast from outside the box, 1-0.
But this wasn’t enough to shake the confidence of the visiting team as Dmitry Torbinsky was first on the rebound after Taras Burlak’s header to level the score on the 29th minute.
Four minutes later, Magomed Ozdoev capitalized on Torbinsky’s lay off to put Lokomotiv in front, 1-2.
The Muscovites enjoyed a 1-3 lead going into the break, thanks to Vedran Corluka, who celebrated his debut game in the Loko jersey with a goal.
But Mordovia had no intention of giving up without a fight in front of the home crowd.
On the 62nd minute, a corner from the hosts saw Evgeny Osipov beating the Railway Men’s young keeper, Miroslav Lobantsov, 2-3.
The hosts put their opponents under serious pressure in the remainder of the match, and not all of the players managed to cope with it.
Ozdoev was awarded a straight red card for pushing Yury Kuleshov in the back in the 87th minute.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added to match, but ten-man Loko managed to maintain the winning score.
“It was a very hard match. But we were expecting this,” Bilic told Sport-Express. “In any case, Loko earned those three points. The boys showed their class. During the break, we realized the deal isn’t sealed. We entered the second half with the motivation to score the fourth goal, but couldn’t capitalize on our chances. Moreover, we conceded. But, in general, we deserved this victory.”
The other seven games of Matchday 1 are scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday.
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