Dinamo Moscow Capitalise As CSKA And Zenit Struggle

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 12: Zvjezdan Misimovic (L) and Kevin Kuranyi of FC Dynamo Moscow in action during the Russian Football League Championship match between FC Lokomotiv Moscow and FC Dynamo Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium on March 12, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)

Formed by a secret police chief, Dinamo Moscow look to stealthily climb the Russian Premier League as their rivals fail to win.

According to a strangely intriguing pro-Christian leaflet that was posted through my door this week, the number twenty is - in biblical terms - "at times linked with the expectancy of things happening - sometimes, with a great magnitude." 

What significance that has for the outcome of the Russian Premier League god only knows, but it does tie in with the fact that, after a weekend of stuttering from the two league leaders, we now sit with twenty games played and an increasingly interesting title race.

The big game of the weekend came on Saturday as Leonid Slutsky's league leaders CSKA travelled to Kazan to face Kurban Berdyev's Champions League hopefuls Rubin. The game eventually finished level at 1-1 but, in traditional Berdyev style, Rubin netted a Natcho penalty on thirty-three minutes and then set about forming a CSKA-proof wall around the penalty area. That wall held out until the closing stages of the game when the spritely Alan Dzagoev, thrown on for Keisuke Honda, popped up in the Rubin box and sent a bouncing volley into the net and prompted Slutsky, in the immortal style of Brian Kidd, to leap onto the pitch in joy. Berdiev was speechless.

That meant that reigning champions Zenit and their no-haired impresario Luciano Spalletti knew that a win over strugglers Amkar Perm would see them level on points with CSKA at the top. Despite having the carrot dangled well and truly in front of their face, Zenit's metaphorical stick stayed still in a performance as bare as Spalletti's hairline. And with less Italian swagger. The unfancied Amkar took the lead through a rasping Aleksandr Kolomeytsev drive before the other Aleksandr, this time Kerzhakov, equalised for Zenit. It was a well-earned point for Amkar but a disastrous loss of two points for Zenit, with Spalletti frustrated at the performance: "Unfortunately, you can't always show the maximum of what you're capable of in football. We showed a lot less today than we're capable of."

Whilst CSKA will have count themselves as the more content of the two sides, there is no doubt that Slutsky will - like Spalletti - feel frustrated at his side's lack of penetration and lack of points. CSKA stuttered and Zenit stalled but the significance of the number twenty in the aforementioned biblical leaflet may spur on the dark horses of the Russian Premier League.

Dinamo Moscow, founded by a notorious secret police chief, have stealthily danced their way up the table since the sacking of Miodrag Božović in April, with new manager Sergei Silkin breathing added zest into the strike partnership of Andrei Voronin and Kevin Kuranyi. Despite looking like an unsuccessful 90's RnB tribute band, Voronin's golden locks and Kuranyi's delicately sculpted beard have - along with the rest of the squad - fired the Politsyeĭskih (policemen) to third in the league, just two points behind Zenit and four points behind leaders CSKA. With a powerful squad including Russian midfield schemer Igor Semshov, nippy winger Aleksandr Samedov and playmaker Zvjezdan Misimović, Dinamo fans will be hoping that the club can reach the promised land of European football, if not challenging for the league title come the final stages of this prolonged Russian season.

An illustration of Dinamo's attacking power can be seen with the 6-2 dispatch served to Terek Grozny this weekend but Lev Yashin's former club have a history of selling their best players to rival clubs and sacking managers all too early. They will have to learn if they are going to mount a prolonged ascent of the double peaked mountain of Zenit and CSKA. 

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