Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rostov 0-0 Rubin: Hosts dangerous yet fail to take chances

Rostov and Rubin played out a surprisingly exciting match that unfortunately ended in a goalless draw. In other news, From Beyond the Iron Curtain is back from hiatus with a new match report format which, in addition to detailing the events of the match and highlighting the best players, will include a notes section that features more general information about the course of the match.

Both sides started in their preferred 4-2-3-1 formations, with only one major change to Rubin's lineup and three to Rostov's. For Rubin, Solomon Kvirkvelia replaced the injured Ivan Marcano, while Rostov's Siyanda Xulu took Bastos's place in the starting XI after the former gave away a penalty against Spartak last week. Rostov's Spartak loanees Artem Dzyuba and Zhano Ananidze also returned to the starting lineup after having to sit out against their parent club.

Rostov opened the match well, looking sharp on the ball, yet they often lacked the off-the-ball runs to meet the ambitious passes of Ananidze and Timofey Kalachev. From the outset, Ananidze looked key to Rostov's chances of breaking through, as his dribbles off the wing wreaked havoc for Rubin's back line. Indeed, it was the Georgian wonderkid who provided the first chance of the match when his cross from the left fell to Dzyuba, who volleyed well wide from 10 yards. For the majority of the next 15 minutes, Rostov looked for a way through a stern Rubin defence, with an Ananidze through ball barely claimed by Sergei Ryzhikov before an onrushing Dzyuba could reach it. However, after a quick counter resulted in a Rubin corner, Kvirkvelia forced Stipe Pletikosa into an excellent acrobatic save to keep the visitors goalless. Minutes later, after a good dribble off the left wing, Guelor Kanga fired a good shot from long range, yet Ryzhikov claimed it easily. Ananidze and Kanga continued to be dangerous, their interplay across the pitch causing problems for Yann M'Vila in particular, who struggled with the greater numbers of Rostov's attackers. However, the final major chance before half time came from Rubin, who saw a Ruslan Mukhametshin goal rightfully called back for offside.

Rubin introduced Roman Eremenko in the place of Wakaso Mubarak after the break and the move looked the right one, as the visitors immediately looked more ambitious and dangerous. Rubin saw the first chance of the half as Mukhametshin put the ball wide from close range after being put through by Bibras Natkho, while Rostov almost went ahead 15 minutes later through Ananidze after he volleyed a chipped pass just across the face of goal. However, from then on everything went Rubin's way as the hosts were slowly shut out of the match. Karadeniz fired close over the crossbar after a quick passing move that covered most of the pitch, while the final chance of the match fell to Oleg Kuzmin, whose powerful header was held excellently by Pletikosa in the second minute of stoppage time. Ultimately however, the match ended goalless despite the plethora of chances for both sides.

- Rostov had an excellent first half as they used all of Ananidze, Kanga and Kalachev to full effect. M'Vila and Natkho looked unable to cope.
- The Eremenko substitution was the perfect switch. Wakaso had done next to nothing in the first half and Rubin needed more physicality rather than finesse going forwards.
- Zhano Ananidze continues to show his potential week in week out, but he needs a bit more refinement to compete at the highest level. The 21 year old could perhaps be considered too ambitious, but his desire to impact games is clear.
football formations- Contrastingly, Artem Dzyuba was uncharacteristically poor. There were several Ananidze through balls that most forwards would have been able to reach, yet Dzyuba looked off the pace and his touch was very bad.

Man of the Match: Guelor Kanga
Constantly dangerous both on and off the ball, Kanga earned six free kicks for his side and almost beat Ryzhikov with an excellent long range shot.

Honourable Mentions:
Gokdeniz Karadeniz - Seemed to be behind every Rubin attack and was very dangerous dribbling in from the left.
Zhano Ananidze - Simply excellent throughout the first half but got marked out of the game as time went on. Nonetheless, he still managed to contribute effectively in defence on top of his normal creative duties.
Arseni Logashov - Excellent in dominating Rostov's right flank, getting forward well but also making a number of crucial tackles and interceptions.

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