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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kiev Stuns Spartak in CIS Thriller

In a pulsating final that lived up to all the hype, Dinamo Kiev squeezed past its old rival Spartak Moscow 3-2 to claim the annual Commonwealth Cup soccer trophy.


The Ukrainians, champions for the second year running, battled back after going 1-0 down with a strong second half performance in front of a highly partisan Moscow crowd Sunday.


Valentin Belkevich, who was named Man of the Match after the game, was involved in all three Kiev goals. The Byelorussian striker, who only a year ago was providing the scoring for Dinamo Minsk in the same competition, made it 1-1 in the 49th minute when Spartak goalie Ruslan Nigmatullin fumbled an easy long-range shot into the goal. Then, only a couple of minutes later, Belkevich was fouled by the Muscovites inside the penalty area and Andrei Shevchenko, Kiev's top scorer, put Dinamo ahead with his sixth goal of the tournament.


Time was running out for Spartak, but Andrei Tikhonov put Spartak back in the game with only 10 minutes left when he scored from another penalty kick to even the match at 2-2.


With a penalty shoot-out looming Belkevich popped up again to score the decider with a simple tap-in from a rebound.


"Spartak wasn't as tough a team as it was built up to be by the Moscow press," said Belkevich, who chose to sign for Dinamo instead of Spartak after both clubs attempted to woo him last year.


The much-anticipated final was a big success among fans with demand so high that scalpers outside were charging two times the original ticket price.


Nevertheless, sources inside Russian soccer say that it will probably be the last CIS Cup. The National Sports Fund, the tournament's major financial backer for the past five years, has gone virtually bankrupt, and with the organizers unable to provide free hotel and luggage costs for all of the teams, the tournament looks doomed.