On Friday, Sochi and Nizhny Novgorod open the 29th round of the Russian Championship. About the problems of lineups, unexpected statistics and motivation of rivals – in our material.
LAST MATCHES AND LEADERBOARDS
Sochi, after the first round, single-handedly took third place in the RPL table, five points behind the second-placed Dynamo. Since then, the wards of Vladimir Fedotov have held ten meetings, in which they have suffered only one defeat from the “Wings of the Soviets” (2:3). At the moment, Sochi is one of two clubs that have not lost even once in the last six matches. A stable game and regular misfires of neighbors in the standings allowed the Sochi team to break away from CSKA by five points, and also completely level the gap in relation to Dynamo, to which they are now inferior only in additional indicators.
Nizhny Novgorod’s situation is far from being so rosy. The club won five victories before the winter break, and only two in the spring part. The team of Alexander Kerzhakov cannot win even against the teams from the bottom of the table, which is why there is a high risk of falling into the joint zone after the 29th round. If Khimki and Rubin take at least one point each, and Ural win, then Nizhny Novgorod will be in 14th place.
In the last round, Sochi beat CSKA (1:0) with a minimum score. And this is even without top scorer Mateo Cassiera, whose presence in the upcoming match also raises questions – the striker has not fully recovered from his injury. But it is known for sure that the team will not be able to help Ivelin Popov and Danila Prokhin, who went through the yellow cards.
Approximate composition of Sochi (3-4-2-1): Adamov – Terekhov, Rodrigao, Drkushich – Margasov, Noboa, Tsallagov, Makarchuk – Joazinho, Yusupov – Melkadze
Alexander Kerzhakov will not be able to count on the author of the winning goal against Sochi in the first round match, Igor Gorbunov, who received the fourth yellow card in the last match. But after the injury, the main and key defender Ibrokhimkhalil Yuldoshev recovered, whom, however, the head coach is unlikely to immediately risk throwing into battle.
Approximate composition of “NN” (3-4-2-1): Goylo – Kakkoev, Gotsuk, Masoero – Stotsky, Kravtsov, Kalinsky, Kozlov – Berkovsky, Sharipov – Suleymanov
STATISTICS AND FACTS
● In total, the clubs met each other three times: two wins on account of Nizhny Novgorod and a draw was recorded once. Moreover, Sochi did not score even once.
● Nizhny Novgorod won 1-0 in the first round.
● Sochi is the league’s top-scoring team at home after Zenit, with 29 goals in 14 games at the Fisht stadium.
● Sochi scores an average of 3.2 goals per game in home matches. Only twice in the entire championship were less than two goals scored.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE MATCH?
Today’s opponents have completely different tasks and potential, where the home team is considered the clear favorite. But stubborn statistics and the loss of two key Sochi players at least slightly equalize the chances of the teams. Both teams have crazy motivation, and each of them is charged to win, because in the last round not everything can depend on them. There is a risk of seeing another small-football game, but if one of the teams scores an early goal, the spectacle is guaranteed.