we had an entertaining first appearance in the UEFA Champions League this season. we were behind, in front and then level. it was quite a show, even if it left us with heads bowed at the end.
How? That was the question on a lot of lips yesterday evening as Lokomotiv Moscow managed to somehow take a draw. Okay, we didn't completely play our opponents off the park, but we had the chances to seal a win. While we lacked precision up front, we never had the feeling we would lose the match. Lokomotiv Moscow did too little going forward and we allowed them too little for that to happen. But how did we end up with a point? We could only shrug our shoulders last night, but in the cold light of day, we can offer a bit more insight.
FC Salzburg 2-2 Lokomotiv Moscow
Shots on target: 7-3
Shots off target: 4-0
Challenges won: 47-53
Passing accuracy(%) 78-73
RBS cards: Yellow x 1, Red x 0
FCLM cards: Yellow x 1, Red x 0
We were the better football team, but Lokomotiv were the more mature. You don't have to try too hard to convince anyone of that, as the figures show it clearly enough. They had three shots, all three were on target, and two went into the net. It's not just our clear advantage on the shot count - 11 to 3 - or the quality of the chances, but the way we use them that always becomes a discussion point at Champions League level. Our conversion rate wasn't enough to express our superiority over the 90 minutes. That is painful, especially as we looked on course to take three points.
We don't want to forget the defensive part of the game either. How did we manage to concede twice from three shots? The answer lies in the nature of the goals we conceded - headers. The first came from a well-rehearsed source. Karim Adeyemi hit the nail on the head in our Champions Lounge coverage: "It is damn difficult to stop opponents who head it on at the near post." That Sladdi had to take on Eder in a heading duel was a simple error of positioning. If the opponents hadn't scorerd, then nobody would have questioned it. That's testament to the high standards of the Champions League that goals can come largely from set pieces, from training ground routines at that, or from individual errors. The Champions League is all about making the most of what you have, and if you can do that, you'll take the points. There are still 15 at stake in the group stage, and that'll be what we need to do more of in future.