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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OMON Rescues Ref After Blown Call

The first round of Russian soccer league matches played after a month's break for the European Championship has witnessed the very same scene that blighted much of spring-time play -- angry players chasing the referee around the pitch after the game.


Viktor Filippov, the referee in Wednesday's showdown between Moscow rivals Spartak and Dinamo, was the star of this now-familiar drama after he allowed a disputed goal that gave Dinamo an important late victory.


Dinamo's first defeat of Spartak in play in the Russian league, which was formed in 1992, moved the police team into fifth place, five points behind Alania.


Defending champion Alania suffered its first home loss of the season, going down to CSKA 1-0, but remained top of the league with 32 points after 15 games.


In Moscow, with five minutes to go and the score tied 1-1, Dinamo's striker Dmitry Cheryshev scored off a free kick that Spartak claimed was taken before resumption of play.


Apparently, Filippov told players to wait for his whistle, but Dinamo's kick preceded the signal and the whistle came just as the ball was going in the net.


"We heard the whistle after the play," said Spartak midfielder Ilya Tsymbalar.


As luck would have it, Filippov himself turned into a sports commentator during Euro 96, mouthing off about bad refereeing at the tournament.


"The overall level of officiating during the European Championship was very low, with many referees making simple mistakes," Philippov was quoted saying by Russia's biggest sports newspaper, Sports Express.


But as he learned the hard way, it is easier to write about games then to call them. Phillipov and his two linesmen had to be rescued from angry Spartak players after the final whistle by security guards and the local OMON squad.


The Dinamo controversy was almost identical to a infamous early season incident involving referee Yury Chebotaryov, who was slugged in the face in Dinamo's dressing room following a match against Alania. Dinamo's president Nikolai Tolstykh was fined and suspended for his role in that incident.


The layoff for the European Championship saw several top Russian clubs undergo important changes and a number of big-name players looking abroad for better wages.


Alania, for example, is being forced to play its home games on an obscure field while its main soccer stadium in Vladikavkaz, host to Champions' League play this fall, is undergoing renovation.


CSKA lost its top player, Vladislav Radimov, 20, who was signed away by Spain's Zaragoza during Euro 96. Spain also claimed Russian international Sergei Shustikov, who is moving from Torpedo to Racing Santander for the start of the Spanish Premier Division.