Wednesday, October 17, 2012

May be defensive play was enough in the championship, but not enough in the Cup tournament. Dinamo (Kiev) did not reach the ½ finals, another indication that even they were not in great shape. Zenit (Leningrad) and Zarya (Voroshilovgrad) were the losing semi-finalists – Zarya, slowly declining after 1972, was consistently well performing in the Cup. Twice a finalists – in 1974 and 1975, now semi-finalists, practically every year they managed to go high. High, but never winning, and this year was no exception – they lost to Torpedo (Moscow). Diamo (Moscow) eliminated Zenit and the final was all-Moscow, opposing the two champions of the short 1976 championships. The final was not a great match, but finals rarely are anyway. Torpedo looked somewhat better and may be unlucky to the specialists, but they failed to score and Dinamo did. True, there was a feeling that he referee robbed Torpedo of a penalty, but then again there goalkeeper failed to clean the ball from a cross in the 17th minute and Dinamo scored.

A. Zarapin helplessly watching the ball crossing the line after the shoot of Kazachenok.

This proved to be the only goal in the final, and Dinamo prevailed. Rightly or wrongly, only goals count, and who scores more wins.

Dinamo (Moscow), somehow grim looking, showing the Cup to the fans.

For Dinamo it was 5th Cup, not bad, but the faces above are ominous – as if the players saw the bitter future. May be Torpedo's players saw their future too... both teams we never champions again as long as USSR lasted and each club managed to add only one Cup in the 1980s. Neither is particluarly successful in post-Soviet Russia... but nobody knew it in 1977, and Dinamo and their fans were happy.

The squad appeared solid – experienced names, some former national team players – Gershkovich, and Dolmatov, some current ones – Pilguy and Minaev, some future ones – Bubnov and Novikov, some respected old hands – Makhovikov and Yakubik, some young promise – Parov and Kazachenok. Something of everything, but no flair, no spark. The team appears rather old-fashioned and behindd the time... may be because of their coach – another well-known and respected, but slightly over the hill oldtimer, Alexander Sevidov. But let not judge the winners.

Let not judge them, because it was not over yet – at the end of the season a brand new challenge was introduced: 'The Cup of the Season', organized by the daily 'Komsomolskaya Pravda'. The champion and the Cup winner were to compete for the prize – in modern terms, it was an early version of now-popular Supercups. Dinamo (Kiev) vs Dinamo (Moscow). Opportunity for a double for both clubs... The match was played in Tbilisi, to the envy of local Dinamo's fans, but in December where else in the USSR? It was one more reason for doubts over the state of Soviet football and particularly Dinamo (Kiev).
A. Minaev (#10) scored for Moscow in the 54th minute. Yurkovsky on his knees... and so was Dinamo (Kiev). Not really outplayed, but lost this match and finished the year with a single trophy.

Double for Dinamo (Moscow):
Oleg Dolmatov, the captain, collects the new cup. Double for Dinamo (Moscow) and, technically, the strongest Soviet team in 1977.
Particularly taciturn looking winners – these team evidently never smiled... standing, from left: Pilguy, Makhovikov, Kazachenok, Sevidov -coach, Maksimenkov, Nikulin, Yakubik, Dolmatov.

Bottom: Gershkovich, Kolesov, Parov, Petrushin, Minaev, Bubnov.

Double is great and so on, but... the goalscorers in both finals were not homegrown stars: Minaev came from Spartak (Moscow) and Kazachenok from Zenit (Leningrad). From the homeboys only Bubnov was showing real progress. Thus, the last great year of Dynamo (Moscow) ended.

May be great for Dinamo (Moscow), but not overall – it was dismal season, especially when international performance is added. But even domestic football alone was dismal – Evgeny Goryansky, one of the better Soviet coaches, titled his article on the finished season 'We continue to wait for something bigger'. Yet, there was hope too – it laid with the juniors. There were bunch of highly talented players, modern in approach and very different from the older generation. They had to grow up, though.