Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2013-14 Matchweek 20 Recap: Russian Premier League resumes with action aplenty

The Russian Premier League season resumed this past weekend with a plethora of action. Lokomotiv took a clear lead in the title chase while CSKA appear to have fallen completely out of contention. At the other end of the ladder, Anzhi finally picked up their first win of the season as they make a bid to stay out of the relegation places. Finally, Luciano Spalletti was fired from Zenit after a disappointing home draw with Tom Tomsk.

The formation plotting website I use is also acting up again, so my team of the week is as follows:
Lodygin; Logashov, Epureanu, Dealbert, Kudryashov; Georgiev, Dragun; Ogude, Dzagoev, Zhirkov; Doumbia

Krasnodar 0-1 Ural
Ural went ahead thanks to Gerson Acevedo's effort in the 19th minute (their only shot on target all game) and played excellent defence for the remainder of the match, but were let off the hook by Krasnodar's hopeless finishing as Joaozinho, Ari and Wanderson struggled for form.

Terek 1-0 Spartak
Terek took the lead in only the first minute thanks to Mauricio, and were able to park the bus for the remaining 90 minutes. Spartak looked likely to score throughout, but struggled to put shots on target and ultimately fell to the relegation battlers.

Dynamo 4-2 CSKA
CSKA took an early two goal lead through the brilliant play of Alan Dzagoev and Seydou Doumbia, but a collapse prompted by the excellent Yuri Zhirkov and a plethora of defensive mistakes allowed Dynamo to turn around the game and take the win in front of their home fans.

Anzhi 1-0 Rubin
Anzhi were on the back foot for almost the entire match and looked set to continue their season-long winless streak, however loanee Aleksandr Bukharov managed to score the winner less than 10 minutes from full time. Rubin sustained pressure on the hosts late on, but it wasn't enough to equalise and Anzhi finally picked up their first win of the season.

Zenit 0-0 Tom

Tom Tomsk impressively went toe to toe with the much bigger Zenit and had several good chances to score, but couldn't force an upset. Regardless, Zenit were also unable to score, and the disappointing result saw manager Luciano Spalletti lose his job with the St. Petersburg club.

Amkar 5-1 Volga
Amkar opened the scoring through Fedor Ogude and things declined quickly for Volga, losing two players to injury before the half hour mark. They did manage to equalise minutes later thanks to Luton Shelton, but the situation went significantly downhill from there. Georgi Peev scored a penalty for the hosts before Ogude scored his second, Maksim Kannunikov piled on the misery and a Marcin Kowalczyk own goal completed the rout, all in the closing minutes.

Lokomotiv 2-1 Krylia
Lokomotiv showed a ridiculous amount of dominance over Krylia and went ahead via Dame N'Doye early on, before substitute Magomed Ozdoev doubled their lead 15 minutes from time. It was only on a rare venture forward that Krylia scored, pulling one back through Stanislav Dragun right before the end of regulation time.

Rostov 0-0 Kuban
Rostov had control over the match for much of the 90 minutes but failed to have any real chances thanks to Kuban's solid defence. Meanwhile, the visitors attempted to hit on the counter, but they too failed to make an impact. Ultimately, Kuban's Lorenzo Melgarejo was sent off in stoppage time, but his side was able to wind down the last few minutes without conceding.

1 - Lokomotiv
2 - Zenit
3 - Spartak
4 - Dynamo
5 - CSKA
6 - Amkar
7 - Krasnodar
8 - Kuban
9 - Rostov
10 - Rubin
11 - Krylia
12 - Volga
13 - Terek
14 - Tom
15 - Ural
16 - Anzhi

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