Spartak start title defense with draw against Dynamo in Moscow derby

Spartak start title defense with draw against Dynamo in Moscow derby
Spartak Moscow were held to a 2-2 draw by city rivals Dynamo on Tuesday as they began the defense of their Russian Football Premier League title.

Following their Russian Super Cup win over Lokomotiv Moscow on Friday, Spartak took a 2-0 first-half lead against Dynamo at Khimki Arena thanks to goals from Dutch striker Quincey Promes and Brazilian Luiz Adriano.

Promes’ goal came on 29 minutes when he headed in a cross from the left, and the Dutchman then turned provider three minutes later, playing in Adriano for the Brazilian to slot past Dynamo keeper Anton Shunin.

The Dynamo comeback began just after the break, though, when Kirill Panchenko rifled home on 53 minutes.

Aleksandr Tashayev then bundled home an injury-time equalizer to ensure newly-promoted Dynamo snatched a point in their first game back in Russia’s top league. 

Massimo Carrera's Spartak team are aiming to defend the title they won last season - their first victory in 16 years - and next take on Ufa away on Sunday.  

READ MORE: The Spartak Story: How a forlorn club ended its title drought with first championship since 2001

Elsewhere, the opening round of games at the weekend saw victories for likely title contenders CSKA Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg.

CSKA earned a comfortable 3-1 win away at Anzhi Makhachkala on Saturday, thanks to goals from Russian internationals Viktor Vasin and Aleksandr Golovin, as well as Israeli international Bibras Natkho.

Zenit won their first league game under new Italian head coach Roberto Mancini, claiming a 2-0 victory at Premier League new boys SKA Khabarovsk on Sunday, making light of the nine-hour flight to the far east of Russia.

Second-half goals from Daler Kuzayev and Aleksandr Kokorin were enough to give Zenit victory.

The home team came close on several occasions, however, most notably when an audacious ‘rabona’ effort from Juan Lescano hit the crossbar.

Akhmat Grozny beat Amkar Perm 1-0 at home on Sunday, in front of assembled stars and dignitaries – including local Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and former Brazilian international Ronaldinho – who had turned out to watch the team’s first league game since being renamed in honor of Akhmat Kadyrov, Ramzan Kadyrov’s late father and former head of the republic.

Newly-promoted FC Tosno went down to a 1-0 defeat against Ufa on Saturday at Petrovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg, where Tosno will play their home games this season.

READ MORE: Spartak defender Bocchetti walking to Italy to fulfill championship-winning promise

Lokomotiv Moscow claimed a narrow 1-0 home win over Arsenal Tula on Tuesday, courtesy of a second-half strike from Georgian defender Solomon Kverkveliya.   

Ural drew 1-1 with Rostov on Saturday, while Kurban Berdyev’s Rubin Kazan suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Krasnodar on Sunday in the coach’s first league game back in charge at the club where he won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2008 and 2009.