by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 17th 2014)
Russiaʼs goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev gifted South Korea a goal and was mightily indebted to substitute Aleksandr Kerzhakov for saving point for Russia. Capped 70 times for his country Akinfeev was simply awful often spilling shots from distance in a performance that may cause Russiaʼs manager Fabio Capello to call time on Akinfeevʼs international career.
Before conceding the goal to Lee Keun-hoʼs speculative shot from just outside the area Akinfeev spilled shots from Ki Sung-yong and Kim Young-gwon without conceding, but it encouraged a shoot on sight of goal policy. Akinfeev will have nightmares over his 68th minute gaffe. It was straight at his head, but he not only failed to catch it but pushed it into his own net.
Proving A Point
Alan Dzagoev was a star of Russiaʼs Euro2012 campaign, but fell off the the radar afterwards and Kerzhakov was one shy of tying Russiaʼs scoring record. Both had a point to prove to Capello and did so. Dzagoev ignited an urgency in Russiaʼs play that had been strangely absent previously. South Koreaʼs lead lasted just 5 minutes.
Dzagoev – an Ossetian – was born in Beslan and was initially thought by his father to have been one of the pupils held hostage in the school hostage-taking by Chechen militants which resulted in the deaths of 344 people, 186 of whom were children.
He inspired the come-back tonight. Dzagoevʼs 73rd minute shot was parried by South Koreaʼs goal-keeper Jung Sung-ryeong. It rebounded to Andrey Eschenko and then to Kerzhakhov, who scored the equaliser. Less than ten minutes later Dzagoevʼs 30 yard shot flashed wide. It was a dramatic improvement on a first half that is best forgotten quickly.