Tonight's match between Spartak Moscow and Krylia Sovetov will be the last football match to be played at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium. The Rugby World Cup Sevens and The World Athletics Championships will be held there later this summer before the stadium is closed to be reconstructed for the 2018 World Cup. Seating more than 80,000 people it is one of Europe's biggest sports venues and has seen some great games down the years as well as some tragedies. Here are five.
1.Russia 0-0 Ireland, September 6th 2011
Football occasionally throws up games that completely defy logic. After a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Slovakia, it seemed Ireland's chances of qualifying for Euro 2012 were slipping away. Led by a bloodied Richard Dunne though, Ireland managed to escape intact from the Luzhniki after one of the most one sided 0-0 draws in footballing history. Russia managed 24 shots on goal, including 10 on target, but failed to find a way past Shay Given. It was the most inspiring defensive performance by an Irish team since Paul McGrath's masterclass in Giants' Stadium.
2.Czechoslovakia 1-0 East Germany, August 2nd 1980
Following Jimmy Carter's decision to boycott the Moscow 1980 Olympics, six of the other national teams who had qualified for the men's football tournament pulled out. What you were left with was essentially the communist world cup, with such traditional footballing giants as Cuba making up the numbers. The last four of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Yugoslavia produced just six goals between them in four matches. 70,000 people watched Czechoslovakia take home the equally rationed second grade bacon at the Luzhniki.
3. Spartak Moscow 2-0 Haarlem, 20th October 1982
In snowy conditions, Spartak Moscow were playing Dutch club Haarlem in a last-32 round of the UEFA Cup. With the temperature at -10, only 16,000 fans turned out. 7:00 p.m. and the game started. 7:16 and Spartak had the lead. 8:40 and the scramble for the Metro was well underway. Twenty seconds before the final whistle though, Sergei Shvetsov netted a second. Fans rushed back up to see the excitement. A crush ensued. Stadium authorities had closed all the other exits. Ecstasy and tragedy in one instant. Sergei Shvetsov later simply said “I wish I hadn’t scored.” Ambulances flocked around the stadium, bodies were seen and screaming was heard and as was the way in the Soviet Union, the cover-up began immediately. Most of the survivors went home that night not knowing what they had been part of. The next day the media offered only this, “On 20 October 1982, after the football match at the Grand Sports Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium, as spectators were on their way out, an accident took place due to disturbances in the movement of people.” 66 people had died.
4. Manchester United vs Chelsea, May 21st 2008
While a Russian team has never won the European Cup, Chelsea came very close on home synthetic soil against Manchester United in 2008. Kicking off at 10:45 local time for a European TV audience, it was well after one in the morning when John Terry missed that penalty.
5. Parma vs Marseille 1999, May 12th 1999
It's easy to forget just how good the Parma side of the late 1990s really were. Their line up on the night of the Moscow final included Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Juan Sebastian Veron, Hernan Crespo and former Newcastle wonder Faustino Asprilla warmed the bench. They cruised to a 3-0 victory over Marseille with Crespo grabbing a brace. Within five years Parma had been dissolved.
Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE, Martin Rickett / PA
YouTube credit: Ramanathan C