Club Brugge KV 0-0 FC Lokomotiv Moskva
A tense encounter at the Jan Breydelstadion ended with FC Lokomotiv Moskva holding hosts Club Brugge KV to a hard-fought goalless draw in their UEFA Champions League Group H encounter in Belgium.
An uninspiring game offered few real chances, although Brugge centre-forward Rune Lange was a constant threat to the away team and could have snatched victory for the home side in the last minute of added time, sliding in to meet Gaëtan Englebert’s low cross, only for the ball to hit the legs of Lokomotiv goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov’s legs and rebound to safety.
In a tepid first half, both sides enjoyed long spells of possession without ever really threatening to break the deadlock. Englebert became an increasing influence for the home side as the half wore on, and twice his perceptive through-balls nearly released Gert Verheyen down the Brugge right, only for Lokomotiv left-back Jacob Lekcetho to recover well to make important tackles on each occasion.
Two clear chances
However, the game did not produce a clear opening for either side until five minutes before the interval, when Ruslan Pimenov missed two glorious chances to put the away side in front within the space of ten seconds. First, he raced on to a ball over the top of the Brugge defence, but Dany Verlinden produced a full-length save to deny his close-range shot.
From the rebound, the near-faultless Birger Maertens made his only mistake of the night, allowing Pimenov to dispossess him and work another shooting opportunity, but this time his effort flashed across Verlinden’s goal and wide.
The home team seemed galvanised by that let-off, and immediately went down the other end and created their only real sight of goal of the half. Verheyen skipped past Lekcetho for the first time, and his cross was headed centimetres wide by Lange. The signs were promising for a more open second period.
However, the second half began in similar style to much of the first, with the majority of the game being played out in midfield. Despite two half-time substitutions by Lokomotiv coach Yuri Semin, the home side continued to offer more in the way of attacking ideas and came close to taking the lead on several occasions.
Tipped over the bar
Just before the hour, Olivier de Cock saw two angled shots saved by Ovchinnikov, but the clearest opportunity arrived in the 68th minute. Timmy Simons burst powerfully down the left and delivered a deep cross, which Lange headed back across goal. The ball reached Serhiy Serebrennikov, completely unmarked two metres out but, perhaps surprised at being allowed so much space, he failed to connect properly with the volley and Ovchinnikov tipped his shot over the bar.
Thereafter, the game became a niggly affair, with Lokomotiv clearly happy to settle for the draw. They had to play the last five minutes with ten men, after captain Dmitri Loskov was dismissed for two yellow cards, both time-wasting offences.