FC Lokomotiv Moskva are through to the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League after beating Club Brugge KV 2-0 in their Group H game at the Lokomotiv stadium in Moscow.
The win signals a remarkable reversal in fortunes for the Russian side, who hauled themselves back into contention with a 2-1 away win against Galatasaray SK on Matchday Five and progress thanks to the Turkish side's 3-1 defeat against group winners FC Barcelona in Spain. Brugge now go into the third round of the UEFA Cup.
Freezing conditions in Moscow meant that the pitch was covered with a fine layer of snow which made life difficult for both teams. Despite the trying circumstances, both sides attacked readily, knowing that this was a game they had to win.
Stoica goes close
Romanian playmaker Alin Stoica had two chances for Brugge inside the opening minutes, first placing his shot wide of the left-hand post when unmarked on the edge of the Lokomotiv penalty area, and then curling an effort straight at Sergei I. Ovchinnikov after Gaëtan Englebert had hit his free-kick into the defensive wall.
Lokomotiv on the attack
After surprisingly looking uncomfortable in the opening stages, Lokomotiv came into the game more. Dmitri Loskov saw his shot deflected just wide by Birger Maertens in the 14th minute, before Vladimir Maminov and Maksim Buznikin both went close for the home side.
A minute past the half-hour, Brugge might well have taken the lead as Olivier de Cock's deep right-wing cross was headed powerfully into the ground by Philippe Clement, and Ovchinnikov was forced to tip the bouncing ball over the crossbar.
Brugge had another good chance to take the lead in the 41st minute as Gert Verheyen's low cross narrowly failed to find Andrés Mendoza sliding in two metres out, but it was the home side who eventually broke the deadlock a minute before half-time.
With clear chances hard to come by, it always seemed a mistake might make the difference between the two teams, and so it proved. Vladimir Maminov's long ball forward should have been cut out by Maertens, but the Brugge central defender missed his kick completely, to leave Julio Cesar with a simple chance. The Brazilian striker rounded Dany Verlinden before sliding the ball into the unguarded net.
The goal put the home side in control, but Brugge came back strongly after half-time and Mendoza missed a great chance to bring the Belgian side level, when he headed De Cock's 51st-minute cross over the crossbar from an unmarked position.
That escape seemed to spur Lokomotiv on, although they missed several opportunities to put the result beyond doubt, with Julio Cesar the most culpable when he found himself completely unmarked in the Brugge penalty area nine minutes from time, but allowed Verlinden to make the save.
However, it mattered little two minutes into added time when Loskov had time and space on the edge of the area and saw his deflected shot go into the net off Verlinden's right-hand post.