Sunday, April 6, 2014

Krasnodar 0-2 Rostov: Hosts dominant but punished for carelessness

football formationsKrasnodar ran riot against Rostov, but counters and a penalty doomed the hosts to defeat. However, Rostov still don't look capable of catching and surpassing Krasnodar, with five points separating them with six games still to play.

Both sides were somewhat damaged by injuries, as Krasnodar had to play Evgeni Shipitsin in place of the injured Wanderson, while Rostov played Zhano Ananidze centrally and brought Dmitri Poloz in to play out left to cover for the suspended Guelor Kanga Kaku. Anton Amelchenko and Igor Khudobyak came in for Stipe Pletikosa and Alexandru Gatcan respectively, as they were both injured.

Almost nothing at all happened in the first period, and the sides were mostly even for much of the half. Ari had one of the few chances when he got a header on target from a Nikolai Markov cross, but Amelchenko made a solid save. Rostov went forward in the first and only minute of stoppage time, and Artem Dzyuba headed on target from close range after a Timofey Kalachev cross. Andrei Sinitsyn made the save, but Ananidze was there to tap it in and give Rostov the lead going into the break.

Krasnodar came out of the gates firing after the interval and forced the visitors onto the back foot immediately. Amelchenko had to make two saves to excellent strikes from Joaozinho within the first quarter of an hour, while substitute Yuri Gazinskiy also came close with 25 minutes left to play. Up the other end, Rostov were wasteful, with the few shots they had going wildly off target. They barely got into Krasnodar's box, while the hosts consistently found men in the Rostov box thanks to plenty of accurate crosses. Both Komlichenko and Joaozinho almost equalised just 10 minutes from time, but Amelchenko was equal to the first, while the Brazilian's effort was deflected narrowly wide for a corner. With 5 minutes left to go, Ananidze was withdrawn in favour of Igor Lolo as Rostov shut up shop to hold onto their minute lead. Ultimately, this plan proved to be more than successful as Rostov went up the other end on a counter and drew a penalty in the final seconds of stoppage time, allowing Artem Dzyuba to take the chance and finish off the game.

Man of the Match: Zhano Ananidze
Ananidze not only scored the first goal, but controlled possession for much of the first half from his preferred central role. Surprisingly competent in defence when called upon, his passing was also a joy to behold.

Honourable Mentions:
Anton Amelchenko - Kept Rostov in the game at times with a few excellent saves, but also tended to be a bit shaky.
Joaozinho - Looked like a constant threat to score throughout the game, and quite often it was only Amelchenko that denied him an equaliser for most of the second half.

- The match was fairly even in the first half, but then Krasnodar just rolled over Rostov after the interval. One might point to the introduction of Yuri Gazinskiy, but he wasn't that great so I really can't explain Krasnodar's improvement.
- Zhano moving back central was incredible, and he was significantly better defensively than I remember.
- Amelchenko is a competent back-up for Pletikosa, but his handling could use some work. He was a bit shaky at times.

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