Moscow "Spartak", having beaten Warsaw "Legia" on its field with a score of 1: 0, sensationally took first place in their group in the Europa League and next year they will play in the 1/8 finals of this tournament. But the St. Petersburg "Zenith", which failed to gain a foothold in the more prestigious tournament - the Champions League, will have to play at an earlier stage of the Europa League - in the 1/16 finals. This is a rare case in recent years when Spartak surpassed Zenit at least in some way.
And all this thanks to the red-and-white goalkeeper Alexander Selikhov, who deflected a rather controversial penalty in the last minute of stoppage time. In general, the game was not successful for any of the teams, it is not for nothing that the Spartak team are trailing in an unusually low 9th place in the Russian championship, and the Poles are even lower in their championship - in 16th place. It is clear that in this situation you will not envy the Portuguese coach Ruy Victoria, who, according to rumors, has already been replaced. It is known that the young wife of the owner of the club Leonid Fedun Zarem, who is quite actively interfering in football affairs, was initially against Victoria. I wonder how Spartak's management will behave after this victory?
And yet ... Playing, to put it mildly, unconvincingly at home, Spartak proved to be good in Europe, defeating Napoli twice, which, by the way, is one of the leaders of the Italian championship, much stronger than the Russian one. Experts tried to solve this paradox by commenting on yesterday's victory of Spartak.
Journalist Igor Shulika believes that otherworldly forces clearly stood up for the red and white:
“For something,“ Spartak ”football god helped. A nondescript match against Legia, a game by score, Bakaev scored in the first half after a mistake by a Polish defender. And now Gigot fouled in the penalty area in added time! Selikhov took a penalty! And this is the first place in the group. “Napoli” are in second, he beat “Leicester” 3: 2. Accordingly, “Spartak” directly in the 1/8 finals, “Napoli” need to get there through the play-offs, and “Leicester” in the Conference League. Apparently, the football god thus asks Zarema not to change Vitoria for some other assistant to Conte..."
Football columnist Konstantin Alekseyev believes that the red and white won in many ways despite:
“In spite of the irritation in the leadership, where the person who brought in the head coach could not withstand information attacks at the very beginning of the journey. Despite the minimal support of Rui Vitoria from the authorities. Contrary to the information about the change of the Portuguese to the Italian Paolo Vanoli in mid-December - regardless of the results. Despite injuries and disqualifications, in the end ... "
Another football expert Dmitry Girin is sure that the team's concentration and concentration, which it lacks so much in the home championship, helped the team:
“It really was a match between two teams that are out of order. Although this is not a discovery at all, after all, the 9th place of the RPL met with the 16th place of the Polish championship. There were a lot of nerves, desires too, as well as marriage. But football is not enough. Spartak beat Leicester and Napoli, Vitoria gave Vanoli a Euro spring!
With them, of course, it would have become easier to kill the intrigue and calmly finish everything in the second half, avoiding the nerve in the ending. There were approaches and opportunities, you just had to bring them to mind. But when Melkadze, Lomovitsky and Hendrix come out to do this ... No, after such a happy for the red-and-white denouement, you can and should praise them, but what if Selikhov did not drag the penalty?
But what could not be taken away from Spartak was the composure and concentration, which usually appear in the red and white in Europe, but then disappear somewhere in Russia. In Warsaw, we saw an unprepossessing, but still export version of the red and white, to which we are more or less accustomed to this autumn ... "
The legendary Spartak player of the “golden” era of the 1990-2000s, Yegor Titov, considers this victory to be a goalie's victory:
“If it were not for Sashka Selikhov, we would have played in the League of Conferences ... Spartak acted according to the score. Bakaev took advantage of the gift of the Polish defender. Don't forget that the red and white had no nominal forwards. Larsson is injured, Sobolev is disqualified, Ponce has left for a long time. Already little by little they even began to forget about him.
Everything is basically as usual. End of the year, injuries, somewhere in a suitcase mood. Thank God everything ended so well. This is Selikhov's autumn, now it's even winter. The guy recovered, overcame all difficulties. Confidence returned to him..."
By the way, it is not for nothing that UEFA named the goalkeeper of Spartak Alexander Selikhov among the contenders for the title of the best player of the week in the Europa League.
Well, one of the most famous fans of "Spartak", actor Dmitry Nazarov, as usual, wrote and performed a song on his blog after the victory of the red and white over "Legia".