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23 Nov, 2009 10:33

Dinamo Moscow claim European bandy crown

Dinamo Moscow have won the European Champions Cup in bandy, or Russian hockey as it is known worldwide. The blue-and-whites overcame Swedish side Vesteros 6-1 on aggregate.

Most of the bandy competitions come up to the rivalry between Russia and Sweden, and the 2009 European Champions Cup became no exception.

The strongest Russian side, Dinamo Moscow, had a 2-0 advantage entering the second leg of their tie with Swedish champions Vesteros.

The Russian side did not wait long in getting down to business, breaking the deadlock after 19 minutes, when Aleksandr Tykavin capitalized on one of Dinamo's corners at the beginning of the game.

Vesteros couldn't get control of the ball at that stage and conceded once again. This time it was Evgeny Ivanushkin who found the back of the net.

The Swedes looked demoralized, but managed to pull one back in the counter-attack.

Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, having a lot in common with both football and ice hockey.

The game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a soccer field. Each team has eleven players, one of whom is a goalkeeper.

A standard bandy match consists of two halves of 45 minutes each. The offside rule is also similar to that observed in soccer.

The players use sticks – same as in ice hockey – but instead of a puck, they play a small ball.

However, this would become only a consolation as Dinamo would score twice more in the second half to claim a 4-1 victory.

6-1 on aggregate, and Dinamo win the European Champions Cup for the second successive time.

Despite the score, the game wasn't an easy one, says Dinamo captain Mikhail Sveshnikov: “Vesteros are a young team, and their players are very hungry for wins. Therefore they fought hard every minute of the match.”

“After the recent flops at two big tournaments, it was mentally very tough to get prepared for this tie. But we managed to overcome this difficulty. I think the result was achieved in the first leg in Sweden, and here we just finished the business,” Dinamo forward Evgeny Ivanushkin told journalists after the game.

So Russian clubs remain the best in Europe, but bandy fans won't be able to find out the top national team next year, as the 2011 World Championships was cancelled two months ago – bandy is yet another sport struggling in the current financial circumstances