Lokomotiv Moscow vs Fenerbahçe – Match One After the Tarasov Incident

Lokomotiv Moscow vs Fenerbahçe – Match One After the Tarasov Incident

Much was made of the conflict between Russia and Turkey before the Lokomotiv Moscow vs Fenerbahçe round of 32 Europa League match. Futbolgrad spoke to TAKIM OYUNU before last week’s first leg match in Istanbul and they told us, “In the Turkish Cup, they had a match against Amedspor from Diyarbakır which is located in a politically critical region in Turkey. Now they are going to Russia. Fenerbahçe fans consider these draws as unlucky and weird. But in Diyarbakır, this situation didn’t affect the game and most of the people think that this is going to be the same in Moscow as well.”

As predicted by TAKIM OYUNU, Fenerbahçe (see our preview on Fenerbahçe before the first leg) Fenerbahçe proved to be the stronger of the two teams and the Turkish team peppered the Russian goal. In the end, Fenerbahçe only managed two goals—both scored by the Brazilian striker Souza—and while this is a comfortable lead for Fenerbahçe going into the second leg in Russia next Thursday, the Turks must feel that 2-0 was too little.

Also, it appeares that TAKIM OYUNU’s prediction that no major problems would arise from the political situation between the two countries was correct—there are reports that two bottles were thrown at Lokomotiv’s bus by two drunk Fenerbahçe fans, but it is doubtful that this behaviour was connected to politics.

On the other hand, after the match, Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Dmitri Tarasov sported a shirt that had a picture of Russia’s president Vladimir, wearing a Russian navy cap and below the portrait a text read in Russian “The most polite president.” The expression “Polite People” was used in Russia to describe the troops in unmarked uniforms that took control of the Crimea during Russia’s annexation of the Crimea two years ago.

UEFA has since begun investigating the matter, as political slogans during UEFA games are forbidden—a decision is expected on March 17. Lokomotiv, meanwhile, has fined Tarasov €300,000 for wearing the shirt. It also appears that Tarasov is now on his way out of Moscow, as the enigmatic president of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has not only offered to pay the fine, but also wants to sign his patriotic comrade. Kadyrov wrote on Instagram, “Terek is ready to buy the player as well as the fine.” Kadyrov also writes, “If this is unacceptable for Dmitry and Lokomotiv, our team will offer to pay the fine at our own expense.”

The fallout of the incident has been widely reported both in Russia and abroad. But given the fact that the shirt’s slogan was in Cyrillic, and that the image was hardly visible from high in the stands, it is doubtful whether there was ever any danger of the shirt inciting an incident in Istanbul. Nevertheless, it appears that Lokomotiv, and the Russian authorities in Moscow, are extremely circumspect of Tarasov’s actions.

With the World Cup just over two years away, Russia can’t afford any negative press that would follow if there was an incident of any magnitude in the return match next Thursday. It can be expected, therefore, that a large contingent of security will be on the job at the Lokomotiv Stadium.

Yet, Futbolgrad has been informed, that there probably will be fewer fans than usual traveling with Fenerbahçe. This anticipated dearth of Fenerbahçe fans coupled with with Lokomotiv’s attendance problems could result in a match on Thursday that is a ghostly affair.

Furthermore, all of these side issues make it unlikely that Lokomotiv will be able to overcome the two goal deficit sustained in the first leg. In other words, Thursday’s match will most likely be Lokomotiv’s last European encounter this season.

By Manuel Veth –