A pair of stunning late goals from Brazilian substitute Diogo Rincón sealed the points for FC Dynamo Kyiv at the Olimpiyskyi stadium to stun a spirited FC Lokomotiv Moskva side that had looked likely to hold on for a point.
Rincón came on midway through the second half to transform a match that had appeared to be running away from the Ukrainian side. On 85 minutes he rose above the Lokomotiv defence to loop a header in off the bar, then, a minute into added time, made sure of the points with a low drive off a searching cross-field pass from Belarussian international Valentin Belkevich.
Lokomotiv coach Yuri Semin had said that matches between Russian and Ukrainian clubs bring out the best in each, and despite a goalless opening period, it proved the case again here between these two old foes from the former Soviet Union.
In a very real sense these two clubs were representing their respective countries. In all, five Ukrainian internationals ran out for Dynamo, with seven Russian internationals in the Lokomotiv side, and it was the Ukrainians who had the best of the opening exchanges.
Dynamo pinned Lokomotiv back in their own half, but could not find a way to earn something to show for their possession. Maksim Shatskikh and Yuriy Dmytrulin shot wide in quick succession before Lokomotiv finally came to life. A surging run and shot from Sergei Ignashevitch saw Oleksander Shovkovskiy scramble across to block on 17 minutes. Suddenly Lokomotiv had found their confidence. From the resulting corner Marat Izmailov found space to shoot hard and low but wide.
End to end
Both sides were looking to attack at pace and the game swung from end to end, but still a breakthrough proved elusive. Tiberiu Ghioane curled a shot over for Dynamo, then on 25 minutes Mikheil Ashvetia's powerful header found the target for Lokomotiv but was straight at Shovkovskiy, who then kept out Vladimir Maminov’s rasping drive.
If that was the Dynamo goalkeeper's best save of the half, his opposite number Sergey Ovchinnikov kept his best for three minutes before the break, diving to his left to keep out Valentin Belkevich's sharp free-kick at the near post.
Both sides brought a wealth of Champions League experience to the match. Dynamo were kicking off their eighth campaign – their seventh in succession – while Lokomotiv were looking to improve on last season when they reached the second group stage. With Group B favourites Arsenal FC and Internazionale FC in action at Highbury, the importance of picking up at least a point from this match grew more evident as the second half wore on.
The game became more congested in midfield and chances less frequent, but it was Lokomotiv who were gaining the upper hand. On 61 minutes Shovkovskiy beat away Dmitri Khokhlov's powerful drive and 12 minutes later the Dynamo keeper repeated the feat, this time from Dmitri Sennikov. Dynamo's forward forays were being restricted, but their intentions were clear on 75 minutes when Ghioane broke down the left and flighted in a cross that just eluded Rincón in the centre.
Eight minutes later, the Brazilian made no mistake, rising above Sennikov to head in Belkevich's centre. Lokomotiv, looking for their second Ukrainian scalp of the season, having beaten FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the qualifying round, threw men forward. But the home side avenged that defeat for Ukraine when Rincón ran on to Belkevich's pass to shoot hard and low beyond Ovchinnikov.