Red Review: Dynamo counting on Bozovic to break the curse

Connoisseurs of the Red Review will recall a couple of weeks ago reading about the travails of Dynamo Moscow, the apparent curse which hangs over the club and their general slapdash manner in which they go about things. So it will come as no surprise to hear that just seven games into the season, and with signs of their much sought after championship push going pear-shaped already, the club have relieved Coach Andrei Kobelev of his duties. The former Dynamo midfielder has been in charge of the Policeman since 2006 – an eternity in Russian managerial years – yet after another sluggish start to a season in which expectations were high, Kobelev has found himself replaced by Montenegrin tactician, Miodrag Bozovic.

Kobelev arrived at the end of the disastrous 2006 season, when, despite massive investment from oligarch owner Alexei Fedorychev, Dynamo contrived to almost get themselves relegated until Kobelev steadied the ship in the last few games. The next two seasons saw promising finishes of sixth and third as Fedorychev’s outlay finally looked to be of some worth but last season the team declined, slipping back down to eighth and once again out of the European places. In a rare show of solidarity the board showed faith with their man and left him in charge for another go, and once again went on another ambitious pre-season recruitment drive to strive for a place at the north of the table. However, after an opening day win at rivals Spartak Moscow, only one more maximum points haul came in the next six fixtures and Kobelev’s time was up, with Bozovic the man to step into the breach.

As a player, Bozovic was a member of the exciting Red Star Belgrade side of the early 90s before starting on a nomadic managerial career that landed him posts in Montenegro, Serbia, Japan and Cyprus, which led to his first flirtation with Russian football at Amkar Perm in 2008. In his first full season in the Urals, Bozovic led Amkar to an all-time club best finish of fourth as well as getting them to the cup final but fell out with the clubs top brass and moved onto FC Moscow. Again, Bozovic did a sterling job, leading the now defunct Muscovite outfit to an impressive sixth place last season – two slots above the more illustrious Dynamo. When FC Moscow went bust before this season began, Bozovic found himself out of work, but in demand.

The move to recruit Bozovic appears an astute one from the Dynamo board. ‘The Count’ – as he is known for a similarity in appearance to Dracula – has a recent track record of over-achieving with clubs of limited resource and ambition. Now his ominous task is to convert a vastly under achieving team into one to meet 34 years of high expectation and frequent disappointment. Things have not gotten off on the best of footings with Bozovic falling to a 1-0 loss away to league leaders Spartak Nalchik in his first game and scrambling a 1-1 draw against former side Amkar in his next. Those results leave the Policemen in ninth position, three points off the European places, but with two winnable games against Anzhi Makhachkala and Alania Vladikavkaz coming up before the mid-season break for the World Cup . Can Dynamo count on ‘the count’ to exorcise their many demons?

There were two rounds of Premier League action this week and a familiar theme, which has run throughout the season, was the indifference for anybody to string wins together. Lokomotiv Moscow are faltering badly and drew with Terek Grozny before losing at home to Saturn. CSKA Moscow dispatched Tom Tomsk 3-1 then surprisingly lost 1-0 at Rostov and goal-shy Rubin Kazan are still struggling to hit the net and were held to a 1-1 draw at Alaniya then inched past basement side Sibir by one goal. Spartak and Zenit St Petersburg were the only sides to record back-to-backs. The Meat’s Brazilian duo Ari and Welliton scored a goal apiece in the 2-0 away at Amkar, with Welliton grabbing two more with another Brazilian, Alex, scoring another as they beat Anzhi 3-0 at home.

Now sitting top of the table are Zenit who are moving smoothly through the gears under Luciano Spalletti. After getting the better of CSKA last week, they nicked at late winner at Saturn and then in Thursday’s summit battle at the Petrovskij Stadium, they jumped above Spartak Nalchik to the top of the table by condemning Yuri Krasnozhan’s side to their first defeat of the season, Vladimir Bystrov, Roman Shirokov and Danny on the scoresheet in a 3-1 win.

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