The Russian Football Premier League returned this weekend following the winter-enforced break and none of the top four sides recorded a win. Zenit and CSKA battled to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, meaning that Spartak had the opportunity to extend their five-point lead the top of the table against Krasnodar on Sunday. The leaders were held to a 2-2 draw and so the weekend’s big winners were Rostov, who thumped basement side Tom Tomsk 6-0 to move within a point of fourth spot. At the bottom of the table, Orenburg and Ural recorded priceless wins over Arsenal Tula and Amkar Perm respectively.
Tom Tomsk – Rostov 0-6
A brace apiece from Aleksandr Bukharov and Sardar Azmoun, as well as goals by Marko Devic and Aleksandr Erokhin, helped Rostov to hammer lowly Tom Tomsk.
Rostov manager Ivan Daniliants stressed that the game was not as easy as it seemed. He said: “The guys had a difficult game. This happened for several reasons. The first is that the regular season has only just resumed and that this game took place after big victories. The second was that many believed that we should easily beat ‘Tom’.
“Aside from this, it was in our heads that the clash with Manchester United was ahead of us. But we have already proven that we are strong at approaching each game separately. Yes, it took a while to get used to the pitch but the guys coped.”
Tom boss Valeriy Petrakov struggled to take positives from the defeat: “What was lacking? Everything,” he said. “Both strength and experience (laughing). In the centre of defence we had a guy from the reserves playing. It is difficult to say something.
“There is a big difference between matches in training and matches in the championship. It is likely that the players will now sense the level of the championship and draw a conclusion. But to play against such a good team and to make such serious mistakes… the result reflects what happened on the pitch.”
Orenburg – Arsenal Tula 3-0
Two goals from Blagoy Georgiev in the opening 21 minutes set Orenburg on track for an important win over Arsenal Tula.
Roman Vorobyov’s strike early in the second half made sure that the hosts moved three points ahead of the opposition.
Orenburg manager Robert Yevdokimov shared his thoughts on the game. He said: “It was a deserved and long-awaited victory. We played a different style of football but a goal in the opening minutes is always good. We began to play closer to goal, on the counter-attack. Arsenal created chances as well but I will repeat that our victory was justified.”
Arsenal manager Sergei Kiriakov was disappointed and did not hesitate in criticising the referee. He said: “It is surprising when you control the ball, the territory and, in principle, everything is under control and you lose the game. Plus, there were refereeing mistakes. I do not know the surname of the referee and I hope that I will not know it; simply that he will no longer be in the Premier League.”
Ural – Amkar Perm 1-0
A goal from Eric Bicfalvi was enough to secure three points for Ural, who are now out of the relegation places.
Goal scorer Bicfalvi was pleased to help his side to record an important victory. He reflected: “It was a difficult game today; the pitch was also difficult. The main thing was to pick up three points. It was all that the team wanted and, in principle, we did everything correctly. I think that the team worked very well today. I want to thank the guys, the fans, because it is very important for us to pick up three points in every game.”
Amkar manager Gadzhi Gadzhiev felt that mistakes cost his side the points: “The summary consists of positive moments and mistakes. We made a mistake, which players in the Russian Football Premier League cannot make, and it affected the result. Yes, we made mistakes in attack but it was difficult on the pitch and not easy to create chances. Before we conceded, we were creating chances but didn’t score – it happens with good players. Ural were disciplined and played well; after the goal, we created nothing.”
Author: John Gorrod
I spent the 2015-16 academic year studying Russian at the Tver State University. One day, I visited the stadium of third-division Volga Tver and ended up helping the fans to paint the fences around the pitch. We became firm friends and they introduced me to the wonderful world of Russian football.