KHIMKI, Russia, July 14 (R-Sport) - Andriy Voronin spared Dynamo Moscow’s blushes with the equalizer in a 2-2 draw at home to FC Volga in the first match of the new Russian Premier League season Sunday.
Dynamo manager Dan Petrescu is aiming for European qualification but had a nightmare start to his first full season in charge as Volga scored twice in the first three minutes at Arena Khimki before the hosts rallied to level the game.
"Of course no-one expected a start like that, but the lads somehow found the strength to get back into the game and get even," Dynamo assistant coach Emil Caras said in televised comments.
"Unfortunately we lacked that bit of the luck that we needed to take the win at the end of the game."
Alexander Shulenin’s goal for Volga was the fastest opening goal of the season in Russian Premier League history, bundled over the line from close range after Denis Kolodin headed on an Anton Putsila corner.
Volga stole the ball from Dynamo’s kickoff and surged forward to score the second, debutant striker Mulumba Mukendi sprinting in behind and stroking the ball in after a collision with Dynamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin.
Dynamo took a while to get going, but then sprang into life with a quickfire double on 28 and 31 minutes to go level.
First, winger Alan Kasaev cut in from the left and turned full-back Piotr Polczak before sending a low shot past goalkeeper Ilya Abaev for a debut goal on loan from Rubin Kazan.
Former Liverpool striker Voronin, back from a season on loan in Dusseldorf, leveled things up when he found space at the far post to volley in a lofted cross from Cristian Noboa.
The second half saw some good scoring chances for both teams, but poor finishing and capable goalkeeping ensured the score stayed at 2-2.
Volga could have taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the first half, had midfielder Leandro not dragged his shot wide after marauding down Dynamo’s lightly-guarded left flank.
In the second half, several players went close to scoring a winner. First Volga’s Roman Kontsedalov flashed a header across the face of goal, and then at the other end Abaev reacted quickly to parry a thumping shot from Dynamo’s Fyodor Smolov.
Dynamo’s young winger Pavel Solomatin was lively after his 72nd-minute introduction, hitting the outside of the post with a stinging effort, then sparking a brawl with a clumsy challenge on Shunin.
Solomatin could have won the game for Dynamo in stoppage time but his rising shot from a tight angle found Abaev’s arms.
Later Saturday, Anzhi Makhachkala aim to get their title challenge off to a winning start at home to Lokomotiv Moscow, before FC Kuban host Rubin.
On Monday, FC Rostov meet Terek, before Tuesday’s games pit Amkar Perm against new boys FC Tomsk and Spartak Moscow travel to Krylya Sovetov.
Two title contenders have to wait until Wednesday to start their seasons, champions CSKA Moscow visiting newly promoted Ural Yekaterinburg before Zenit St. Petersburg visit FC Krasnodar.