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When Russia proved to Britain that they can play football too

November 13, 2016

This day in football history

Dynamo at the Bridge (Chelsea FC)

On 13 November 1945, Dynamo Moscow drew with Chelsea, 3–3, at Stamford Bridge before a capacity crowd of 85,000. It was the opening match of Dynamo’s British tour, which saw them also face Cardiff, Arsenal, and Glasgow Rangers.

The tour was engineered by members of the FA and the Football League, who were looking to celebrate the resumption of English football after its World War II hiatus. As one of the Soviet Union’s leading clubs, Dynamo generated a lot of interest in a British public that was still unfamiliar with the Soviet nation. The British press, however, was critical of the Soviets’ footballing abilities, with one reporter saying Dynamo were “not nearly good enough to play our class of professional teams.”

The opening half against Chelsea appeared to prove him correct, as Dynamo went down 2–0. In the second half, however, Dynamo’s fluid passing game allowed them to equalize. Late into the second half, new Blues signing Tommy Lawton appeared to win the match for Chelsea with a header, but Dynamo’s Vsyevolod Bobrov scored a dramatic third for the Soviets, despite appearing to be offside.

Dynamo continued to impress on their tour, crushing Third Division Cardiff, 10–1, then beating Arsenal 4–3, before finally losing to Rangers, 3–2.





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