FC Lokomotiv Moskva won the Commonwealth Cup for the first time after beating PFC Neftchi 2-1 in Moscow.
By Eduard Nisenboim
FC Lokomotiv Moskva won the Commonwealth Cup for the first time after beating PFC Neftchi 2-1 in the final.
Playing in their home city, Lokomotiv were looking to end a run of Russian failures in the tournament for the champions of the former Soviet states since 2001. However, on 14 minutes the Azerbaijani title-holders, who had played four games en route to the final rather than the seeded Lokomotiv's one, took the lead after a fine solo run and shot from Zaur Tagidadze.
However, Lokomotiv, who overcame FBK Kaunus 2-0 in the semi-finals, were the dominant team and Deividas Cesnauskis soon hit the post on two occasions. The scores were finally levelled just before the break when Dmitri Loskov pounced on a mistake in the Neftchi defence.
Neftchi, who defeated FC Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 in the last four having already beaten 2003 winners FC Sheriff in the group stage and FC Pyunik in the last eight, held on stoutly in the second half but 13 minutes from time Sergiej Omeljanczuk broke into the box and scored Lokomotiv's winner.
Lokomotiv coach Yuri Semin said: "
There was a lot of tension in the game, as there should be in the final. We took this competition really seriously and planned to win it."
Consolation for Neftchi came with the election of 37-year-old striker Vivadi Rzaev as player of the tournament, while his team-mate George Adamia was top scorer with six goals. Nefchi coach Agasalim Mirdzhavodov said: "The game was tight, but the opposition got the luck. Moreover, we were playing our fifth match in eight days - that is really tough for the players."