Spartak Moscow – FC Ufa Match Report: Wrestlemania RFPL

The Sunday game between Spartak and Ufa was quite similar to an old-school professional wrestling match. Two teams have excellently played two classical roles. (And - no, I do not imply that the result, like in pro-wrestling, was predetermined too). Ufa was a heel. "Heel", in wrestling parlance, describes a character whose main job is to attract heat (anger) from the fans. Semak's lads were excellent in that role: scored a quick and somewhat illogical goal (Andrey Eschenko later even said … [Read more...]

FC Ufa – How To Run a Small Club in Russia

When FC Ufa was promoted to the Premier League (RFPL) in 2014, they were one of the smallest sides in history to make the top flight. Having only existed since 2010, it took them just three seasons to rise from Professional Football League (PFL), the third tier, to the top flight, though many predicted it would not last long. How could a side like Ufa last in a league dominated by elite teams? The answer lies not just on the pitch, but behind the scenes.   At Europe's End Ufa is one of … [Read more...]

Zinchenko’s Italian Renaissance?

Reports in both England and Italy have emerged over the weekend that ex-FC Ufa star Oleksandr Zinchenko is close to joining SSC Napoli. Rumours of the switch were first broken last week by ESPN and La Gazzetta dello Sport but the financial aspects of the deal have now been leaked. It is rumoured to be a full season loan for a reported fee of €500,000 which will become a permanent €6 million deal if he makes 25 appearances of 45 minutes or more. Zinchenko was Guardiola's fourth Manchester City … [Read more...]

RFPL 2017/2018 – Who Has the Best Kit?

SKA-Khabarovsk Premier Liga newcomers, like some other teams, decided not to bother and use last year's kits. They probably figured that nobody saw it last season anyway, as the coverage of the FNL is almost criminally low. The kit itself is nothing special, but there is nothing to criticize either. I personally like their massive badge, which looks appropriate on this empty T-shirt. FC Tosno The club from the Leningrad Oblast, founded in 2013, still hasn't built its own identity. … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Ufa

Last season, FC Ufa achieved the highest league finish in the club’s history, as they surprised everyone to finish 7th place. A club with modest resources and a small squad, excellent management from two top young coaches, Viktor Goncharenko and Sergey Semak was key to their achievement. Operating with a 5-3-2 or 5-4-1, they were often a thorn in the side of the larger teams, using their excellent defensive co-oridination and lightning quick counter attacks, spearheaded by Kehinde Fatai, to … [Read more...]

Sergey Semak and the Bashkortostan Challenge

Going into the winter break in 8th place in the RFPL, just three points behind Terek Grozny in 4th, FC Ufa could be very satisfied with the first half of the season. The team from Bashkortostan managed to defeat both Spartak and Lokomotiv in Moscow, while also holding Zenit St. Petersburg to a 0-0 draw at the beginning of the season, and they are no longer the pushovers we have seen in the previous two seasons, where they finished just above the relegation line. A fact that becomes even more … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: FC Ufa

Introduction After claiming their RFPL status on the final day of last season with a win against Spartak Moscow, Ufa went into this season with a new manager, young Belarussian Viktor Goncharenko. They had also lost bright talent Oleksandr Zinchenko to Manchester City, and the money from that did allow for some re-investment in the squad. After a dodgy start, it looked as though the new adjustments to the squad were not going to help too much, however a run of games against the top 6 clubs … [Read more...]

The Russian Adventures of Emmanuel Frimpong, Aged 24 1/4

Last night it was confirmed that Ufa's Ghanaian midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has had his contract cancelled after only playing eight matches this season for the Russian Premier League's youngest club. Discussions aimed at finding a compromise between him and the club failed to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion, and it has been clear for some time that the relationship between Frimpong and his club has become fractious at best. After nearly two seasons in Bashkiria - his longest period with … [Read more...]

Ukraine Criticized for Not Selecting Russian Based Players

It is a widely held opinion that sport and politics should not mix, however, it seems that exactly that has happened within the Ukrainian national team this week. Two Ukrainian players based in Russia, who it was expected would be part of the senior and U21 squad respectively, have been left out. Yevhen Seleznyov, who has 48 caps for his country, moved from last year’s Europa League runners up Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine to Kuban Krasnodar in Russia during the winter break. Having … [Read more...]

Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Difficult Choice

It is a well-known fact that with the obvious exceptions of Zenit and CSKA, and to a lesser extent Spartak, Lokomotiv, Rubin, Dynamo and Krasnodar, Russian clubs aren’t very famous around the world. You rarely see players from squads like Amkar or Mordovia move to the big European clubs. However, this situation might change in the near future, as Oleksandr Zinchenko could leave Ufa to join AS Roma or Borussia Dortmund. The surname Zinchenko holds a special meaning for Russian football. In … [Read more...]