Spartak, 12-times Soviet champions and nine-times Russian title winners, had never before in their 92-year existence had a ground of their own until new owner Leonid Fedun got the 15 billion rouble (248.
64 million pound) project underway in 2007.
“When building the stadium, we looked for help from our colleagues in England,” Fedun, chairman of oil giant Lukoil, said. “Now the only problem we have is paying the taxes on such a large structure.”
Russian minister for sport Vitaly Mutko’s address to the 42,000-capacity crowd was drowned out by whistles, while President Vladimir Putin did not attend, having visited the stadium last week.
“The most modern sports stadium has opened today in Moscow,” Mutko said. “There will be a few improvements ahead of the 2018 World Cup, but everything is practically ready.”
Dynamo Kiev were initially invited to play the inaugural match but the Ukrainian club rejected the invitation due to the civil war raging on its eastern borders against pro-Russia separatists.
With Russia head coach Fabio Capello watching, Spartak captain Dmitry Kombarov scored for the hosts and Luca Jovic netted for the Serbian side.
The first official match at the stadium will be Spartak’s Sept. 14 Russian Premier League derby against Torpedo Moscow.
The stadium will host Confederations Cup matches in 2017 and, after having its capacity increased to 45,000, it will stage World Cup finals matches in 2018.
It was the second new stadium to be completed for the World Cup finals in the last two months after the Kazan Arena.
(Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy, editing by Rex Gowar)