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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lokomotiv Snatches 2-1 Win




Igor Chugainov headed home a goal well into injury time to give Lokomotiv Moscow a dramatic 2-1 win over AEK Athens in Cup Winners Cup quarterfinal second-leg action Thursday in Moscow.


With the victory, the Russian cup holder advanced to the cup semifinals on a 2-1 aggregate score.


"This was the first time in my memory that our team was able to steal a victory in the game's final minute," Lokomotiv coach Yury Semin said.


After a scoreless draw March 5 in Athens, both teams played to win, battling sub-freezing temperatures for 90 minutes in front of 20,000 spectators at Lokomotiv Stadium.


Russian international Yevgeny Kharlachev gave Lokomotiv a 1-0 lead when he beat AEK goalkeeper Ilias Atmatsidis with a curving shot in the 55th minute. But the joy was short-lived for the home crowd as the Greeks went on the offensive.


First, Lokomotiv goalkeeper Ruslan Nigmatullin dived to save a strong header by Yannis Kalitzakis in the 62nd minute, and then just a minute later, Lokomotiv defender Andrei Solomatin cleared the ball off the goal line after a strong effort by the Greeks.


Finally, after AEK's Christos Maladenis was brought down by the Lokomotiv defense inside the home team's penalty area, Charic Kopitsis made no mistake from the penalty spot, tying the score at 1-1 in the 68th minute.


The tie would have propelled AEK into the semifinals on the away-goals rule so the home side was forced to go on a final charge. Twice Lokomotiv was able to score, sending the partisan crowd into a frenzy each time. But both times the referee ruled the Russians offsides. The outcome was bleak for Lokomotiv until Chugainov was able to seal the victory for the home side.


"The important thing was that we believed in ourselves," Chugainov said. "And never gave up until the final whistle."


With the win, Lokomotiv, which had never advanced past the second round in European cup competition, joins Spartak Moscow among Europe's elite. Spartak defeated Ajax on Tuesday to reach the semifinals of the UEFA Cup.


This season also marks the first time in club soccer history that two Russian teams have reached the semifinals in the same year.