The importance of the Europa League and Russia’s standing in European Football

It goes against reason to argue that Russia deserves another Champions League spot given we’re coming off the back of one of their most dismal tournament performances to date, with both Premier League representatives exiting in the group stage prior to the winter break. However, despite their shortcomings in UEFA’s premier competition, the Russian Football Premier League is primed to overtake the Portuguese Primiera Liga in becoming Europe’s 6th best league and clinch another direct ticket to … [Read more...]

Russian Reactions to the Europa League Games and Draw

Rostov - Sparta Prague (5-1 on agg) Rostov will face Manchester United in the Round of 16 of the Europa League after a comfortable aggregate victory over Sparta Prague. A resounding 4-0 victory in Russia meant that only a major collapse in Prague would prevent Ivan Daniliants’ side from progressing. Dmitriy Poloz fired Rostov ahead but the 10-man hosts equalised seven minutes from time via former CSKA Moscow defender Vyacheslav Karavaev. Head coach Daniliants was pleased by his side’s … [Read more...]

Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg – Anderlecht

Zenit (0) v (2) Anderlecht, Thursday 6pm GMT, St Petersburg First Leg Mircea Lucescu didn’t fare quite so well with reacquainting his players with competitive action after the enforced winter layoff as a thunderbolt double from Frank Acheampong put the Belgians marginally in control of this tie. Zenit were ponderous, wasteful in possession and disjointed in attack, so there is plenty to work on ahead of the return leg if Russia’s strongest squad left in Europe is to continue their … [Read more...]

Preview: Sparta Prague – FC Rostov

Sparta Prague (0) v (4) Rostov, Thursday First Leg In the preview for the first leg in Russia, we asked whether Rostov could continue their European adventure, and it’s safe to say that Kurban Berdyev’s men replied in the perfect way. Goals from Miha Mevlja, Dmitry Poloz, Christian Noboa and Sardar Azmoun secured a 4-0 victory, which should be more than enough for Rostov to book a ticket to the next stage of the tournament. After 32 minutes, with the score 1-0 to the home team, … [Read more...]

Preview: Fenerbahce – FC Krasnodar

Fenerbahce (0) - (1) Krasnodar, Wednesday 5pm GMT, Istanbul First Leg Krasnodar shook off winter break rustiness to take a slender advantage back to Turkey thanks to debutant Viktor Claesson’s diving header just three minutes into the game in Russia last week. Fenerbahce offered very little threat going forwards as they failed to score a crucial away goal which may prove to be decisive. meanwhile, Cristian Ramírez was a revelation on his debut offering as much threat going forwards as … [Read more...]

FC Rostov – Sparta Prague Preview: Can the European Adventure Continue?

Following a long and boring winter break, FC Rostov are eager to get back to competitive football, and continue the impressive European campaign that has already seen them defeat Bayern Munich and finish third in their Champions League group ahead of PSV Eindhoven. Rostov face Czech giants Sparta Prague, and will have deliver their absolute best to avoid facing suffering defeat like FC Krasnodar did against the same opponents last season. Top strikers on a defensive team Although Rostov’s … [Read more...]

Krasnodar – Fenerbahce Preview: A Chance for the New Boys to Shine

After a long winter break that saw some key business done for FC Krasnodar, they resume competitive action against Turkish giants Fenerbahçe on Thursday night, looking to improve on last season’s capitulation to Sparta Prague at the same stage. Russian clubs traditionally perform poorly in the knockout stages of continental competition, with many blaming the extended lack of match fitness, but with qualification for next year’s Europa League in the balance, Igor Shalimov’s side will be desperate … [Read more...]

Anderlecht – Zenit Preview: Can Zenit Continue Their European March?

After winning five out of their six Europa League matches this season, Zenit found themselves comfortably on top of Group D, and more importantly, through to the Round of 32. Their opponents, Anderlecht, on the other hand, came second in a group that featured Saint-Étienne, Mainz 05 and Gabala FK, with Saint-Étienne taking the top spot. Today we take a look at Zenit’s chances of progression into the next round of the tournament, and the physical condition of the team coming in to the first leg, … [Read more...]

#RFNPredictionsLeague Is Back!

My Dear Comrades, I bring you tidings of great joy and sorrow. After a barren winter break without domestic football to enjoy the wait is almost over; predicting the unpredictable Russian Football Premier League is a challenge we will all soon be able to enjoy once more. I know how painful it has been for each of you to survive since December without seeing Amkar draw 0-0 or Alexandru Gatcan get sent off, but we have just a mere three weeks till we are spoilt by such luxurious pleasures. Best … [Read more...]

Russian Clubs Gear Up for European Fixtures

After two months’ break, the Europa League kicks off in two weeks, and three Russian clubs are still competing in the tournament. On February 1, Zenit St. Petersburg, FC Rostov and FC Krasnodar all registered their squad for the next legs in the tournament, and it’s time to take the temperature on the Russian contenders left in European football. FC Rostov Rostov impressed everyone by finishing third in the Champions League Group of Death behind Bayen Munich and Atletico Madrid but ahead of … [Read more...]