A comeback draw
The match for the third place on the 2017 Granatkin Memorial was dramatic as six goals were scored – 4:2, team Saint Petersburg won. It seems that such an effectiveness of teams would be hard to beat, but… This opinion is wrong. Teams of veterans from Saint Petersburg and Russia amazed spectators by scoring eight goals, and all of them were put into the net of the “southern” goals of the Saint Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex. Four goals were scored by the so-called guests – Team Russia – during the first half, and in the second part of the 50-minute match (the match consisted of 2 halves of 25 minutes each) Team Saint Petersburg answered doing the same.
This outstanding scenario has a logical explanation. Veteran team of Russia was preparing carefully for this match and… let the younger players play for it, compared to the previous match that took place a year before. The 41-year old Alexander Panov was the head of attacks, Ruslan Nigmatullin, who is just a year older, was playing in the goals. We should admit that ex-goalkeeper of “Spartak” Moscow and “Lokomotiv” Moscow, Italian “Verona” and the National Team of Russia showed a great performance, keeping the goals safe from shots that looked impossible to save… Oleg Kornaukhov (ex-player of “Torpedo” and “CSKA”) and Arkadii Belyi are of the same age with Panov and Nigmatullin. Yes, you can believe it – the European Champion and the eight-time Champion of Russia in futsal also came here to perform for a “classical football” team of veterans of Russia that was gathered by the famous defender of “Ararat” Erevan and “Spartak” Moscow Alexander Mirzoyan. These four – Nigmatullin in the goals, Kornaukhov, Belyi and Panov on the pitch with assistance of elder fellows led by Akhrik Tsveiba - were leading the game in the first half.
The famous masters from the legendary “Zenit-1984” tried to show something they used to show years before, but the age difference took its toll. The quicker and lighter Moscovites (oh, how awkward it feels to call Alexander Panov a “Moscovite”!) were faster than their mentors. The goalkeeper of the home team, Yurii Oganessian, struggled to do his best and saved the team in a couple of moments, but conceded 4 goals before the half-time, including a beautiful long shot right under the crossbar made by Kornaukhov. The native Leningrad citizen Denis Mashkarin, who went from “Zenit” to “CSKA” Moscow early, also made the Saint Petersburg team feel sad by finishing the combination with a goal…
But team Saint Petersburg managed to show much better with their “youth” and radically changed the situation in the second half! The first goal for them was scored by Iraklii Gegechkori from a penalty shot that he earned himself (the respective referee Sergey Lapochkin pointed on a penalty mark with no hesitation). And then the time has come for Valerii Tsvetkov, Denis Ugarov, Dmitrii Radchenko, Andrey Pletnev and Nikolay Epranosyan... With the assistance of three-time Champion of Russia the 52-year-old Sergey Dmitriev these “youngsters” were literally storming the defense of Russia headed by Dmitrii Khlestov who celebrated his 46 birthday this Saturday. Nigmatullin was still great in the goals, but the score turned to 3:4 right by the end of the match. And then the home team surprised everyone with an unexpected substitution: a small boy Slavik went to the attacking end to join his father Sergey Dmitriev. All his new teammates were sending passes to the fresh striker, and on the edge of the final whistle the younger Dmitriev scored his goal. His famous father was not that successful, and neither was the notable Panov, who turned out to be playing in the SCC for the first time in his life and who hit the crossbar during this match.
The game ended with a 4:4 score! Not only the comeback victories can be seen in football, but also comeback draws. We thank all the participants of this entertaining match!