Tag Archives: FC Rostov

Russians eliminate second Dutch side out of UCL

FC Rostov sealed qualification to the latter stages of a major European competition for the first time in club history after holding former European Cup winners, PSV Eindhoven to a goalless draw at the Philips Stadion on Tuesday evening reports Steven Davies.

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The Russian side who had also knocked out Ajax at the playoff round of the competition earlier in the season came into this encounter with the back-to-back Eredivisie champions off the back of a remarkable success over Bayern Munich and, despite a place in the latter stages of European club football’s elite competition being out of reach, knew that a place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League would be theirs as long as they avoided defeat in Eindhoven.

 For Phillip Cocu’s men, who came into this meeting propping up Group D with just the solitary point earned from the 2-2 draw in Rostov on 28th September to their name, nothing less than a win would suffice as the reigning champion’s indifferent league form had seen them fall six points off the pace set by title rivals, Feyenoord and Ajax and tumble out of the KNVB Beker in embarrassing fashion at the hands of newly promoted Sparta Rotterdam.

Following a lacklustre goalless draw at relegation threatened, Roda on Saturday evening, the PSV coach opted to switch to a back three with Joshua Brenet coming in at the expense of Siem de Jong while Steven Bergwijn partnered Luuk de Jong up front with Gaston Pereiro surprisingly dropping to the bench.

Cocu’s opposite number, Ivan Danilyants meanwhile unsurprisingly opted for the same eleven that had so famously seen off Bayern Munich in their last outing in the competition on 23rd November which included a front two of Dmitriy Poloz and Iranian international, Sardar Azmoun who, if you include the qualifying rounds, had netted nine goals between them in the competition thus far this season.

Despite their need for victory, the home side failed to create a clean cut chance until a minute into added time at the end of the first half when French centre half, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin climbed highest to get on the end of an Oleksandr Zinchenko corner only to send his header wide of Soslan Dzhanaev’s near post.

The visitors meanwhile had shown little by way of attacking intent themselves with the Russian’s best chance falling to Poloz – the Russian international losing Isimat-Mirin before dragging his attempt wide of Jeroen Zoet’s near post seven minutes before the interval.

Coming into this crunch encounter, the statistics certainly favoured a close contest of few chances with PSV boasting the best defence in the Eredivisie but also the worst goal-scoring record of any of the top seven sides in the Netherlands, while despite only CSKA having conceded less goals than Rostov in the Russian top flight this term the visitors had scored just 19 times in 17 league games.

As such it came as little surprise that the first shot on target from either side didn’t arrive until Azmoun worked Zoet in the 67th minute – the Dutch international ’keeper having to be on his toes to parry a snap-shot from the edge of the box.

Frustration began to creep in as the former European Cup winners continued to find chances hard to come by – Steven Bergwijn seeing his deflected effort easily fielded by Rostov glovesman, Dzhanaev with a quarter of an hour left to play before substitute, Luciano Narsingh got free down the right and fired the ball across the face of the goal to the feet of fellow replacement, Siem de Jong whose fierce effort was repelled by the visiting ‘keeper.

With time rapidly becoming the enemy, the hosts had one final golden opportunity to clinch a place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League when another substitute, Gaston Pereiro got on the end of a lofted ball by Brenet in the visitor’s box – the Uruguayan being denied by an alert Dzhanaev who was quickly off his line to snuff out the opportunity before Bart Ramselaar saw his goal-bound follow-up cleared off the line by Vladimir Granat in the 86th minute.

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However, as so often this season, PSV’s inability to find the back of the net would ultimately prove their undoing as Rostov progressed into the latter stages of a major European club competition for the first time in club history at the expense of the reigning Eredivisie title-holders.

Man of the Match: Miha Mevlja  


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Pressure on Bosz as Ajax fall in Russia

Four-time European Cup winners, Ajax failed to advance to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second year in succession after being humiliated in remarkable fashion by Russian underdogs, FC Rostov reports Steven Davies.

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Following a calamitous home defeat at the hands of Willem II in which most of the Ajax backline was culpable, under fire coach, Peter Bosz shuffled his defence for a second leg that, according to many in the Dutch media, carried with it more than just qualification for the group stages of European club football’s richest prize.

The most surprising selection came between the posts for the visitors where, despite a big money switch to Barcelona being in the offing, Dutch international ‘keeper, Jasper Cillessen returned at the expense of Andre Onana – the 20-year-old stopper having made his first team debut against Willem II on Saturday. Meanwhile, a series of high profile errors in the same game resulted in Columbian centre half, Davinson Sanchez being dropped and Dutch international, Joel Veltman reverting to centre half with both Kenny Tete and Nick Viergever filling the full back roles as the injured Mitchell Dijks was also ruled out.

Having come back from the brink of bankruptcy while also surviving a relegation playoff fifteen months previously to the verge of not only winning the Russian league title last term but now reaching the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, FC Rostov entered the second leg of the tie with the Amsterdam giants holding a slight advantage by virtue of Ecuadorian international, Christian Noboa’s away goal in the 1-1 draw at the Amsterdam ArenA just over a week ago.

A solid defence had been the bedrock of the unfancied Russian outfit’s success under previous coach, Kurban Berdyev and Rostov’s caretaker coach, Dmitri Kirichenko, having continued with his predecessor’s defensive philosophy in Amsterdam, appeared intent on strangling the tie here as well.

Yet, despite their defensive stance it was the Russians who came out of the blocks the quicker with the first clean cut opportunity of the game falling to Aleksandr Erokhin who, having latched onto a through ball, out muscled Jairo Riedewald before being denied by Cillessen – who stayed tall to deny the striker with 9 minutes gone.

Ajax did rouse from their slumber shortly thereafter as Chelsea loanee, Bertrand Traore lifted an effort over the bar from the edge of the six yard box after Nemanja Gudelj had seen his shot charged down with 19 minutes on the clock.

Rostov however, would continue to take it to their illustrious visitors and when Iranian, Sardar Azmoun latched onto a cross from the right with a towering header, Jasper Cillessen was left rooted to the spot as the Russians took the tie by the scruff of the neck going into the half time interval.

Any thought of an Ajax comeback was dashed within minutes of the resumption of play as a free kick from Timofei Kalachev was met by Erokhin who made no mistake with a close range header that put the Russians 2-0 up on the night and 3-1 up on aggregate after 52 minutes.

But, if Peter Bosz entered the game under pressure, what followed would have set alarm bells ringing at De Toekomst.

Eight minutes later, a game of ping pong in the Ajax area eventually saw the ball land at the feet of Ecuadorian, Noboa who – having opened the scoring in the tie just over a week ago in Amsterdam – stabbed the ball past a helpless Cillessen from close range to effectively seal the tie with half an hour remaining.

But a humiliating night was to get even worse for the former European powerhouse, when, six minutes later, an Ajax attack broke down and turned into a swift Rostov counter attack with Erokhin beating a number of Ajax players before putting in Dmitriy Poloz who beat the Ajax offside trap before calmly rounding Cillessen to make it 4-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.

Ajax offered little by way of resistance throughout the contest – often being caught in possession and creating few real goal scoring opportunities.

Having drug his side through recent indifferent performances, Ajax skipper, Davy Klaassen was as anonymous as the rest of his team mates on a miserable night for de Godenzonen but did manage to get the Dutch side on the scoresheet from the penalty spot after substitute, Kasper Dolberg was brought down in the Rostov area by Fyodor Kudryashov – who was then shown the red card with seven minutes remaining.

However, it proved little more than a consolation for Peter Bosz whose position as Ajax coach is becoming increasingly untenable as the four time European Cup winners – already playing catch up in the Eredivisie standings – were embarrassingly dumped out of qualifying for European club football’s richest prize for a second year in succession.

Man of the Match: Bertrand Traore


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Russians frustrate Ajax Euro ambitions

Another strike by inspirational skipper, Davy Klaassen wasn’t quite enough for Ajax who endured another night of frustration in European club competition as Russian under dogs, Rostov moved into the second leg their UEFA Champions League Playoff with the Dutch giants holding a slight advantage off the back of an early away goal by Ecuadorian international, Christian Noboa reports Steven Davies.




Following the disappointment of dropping two points in the dying moments of Saturday’s visit of Roda, Ajax coach, Peter Bosz shuffled his pack ahead of the visit the Russian outfit – giving Chelsea loanee, Bertrand Traore his first start for de Godenzonen while also drafting in German wide man, Amin Younes along with Dutch international, Joel Veltman with Saturday’s two-goal hero, Kasper Dolberg, Kenny Tete and Daley Sinkgraven making way.

In spite of having four European Cup triumphs to their name, Ajax came into the tie in the unusual position of having never managed to best Russian opposition in any European club competition and, in spite of having the majority of the ball throughout the contest, the Amsterdammers found chances hard to come by with the Rostov back five keeping time and space for the attacking trio of El Ghazi, Traore and Younes to a minimum.

Despite their surprising victory over Anderlecht two weeks ago having secured some form of European group stage football for the first time in the club’s history and having finished as runners up in last season’s RFPL standings, Rostov came into the tie at the Amsterdam ArenA in chequered form with just four points from their opening three league games. The visitors also arrived in the Netherlands in the midst of a period of transition under the caretaker charge of former Rostov and Russian international striker, Dmitri Kirichenko – who took up the coaching reins following the departure of the Spartak Moscow-bound, Kurban Berdyev.

However, it was the Russians who, against the run of play, took the lead with their first meaningful attempt on goal through a Christian Noboa free kick from just outside the area – the curling effort wrong-footing Ajax ‘keeper, Jasper Cillessen.

As the half wore on, Ajax’s wide men gradually found more space in which to work and Anwar El Ghazi in particular carved out a number of tantalising crosses that his colleagues were frustratingly unable to capitalise upon – the Dutchman continuously terrorising Rostov’s left wing-back, Denis Terentjev throughout the match.

Yet it took until the half hour mark for Ajax’s first real clean cut opportunity to materialise – Burkina Faso international, Traore having slipped free of the shackles of his marker, dropped the shoulder and burned two defenders before seeing his shot saved by Soslan Dzhanaev’s legs – Rostov’s star man also parrying the follow up from Younes just seconds later.

Then, with 37 minutes having elapsed and the home side in firm control, Younes squared the ball across the area for Bazoer whose shot was handled by Rostov centre half, Cesar Navas, leaving the referee little option but to point to the spot – Davy Klaassen, the hero of Thessaloniki, converting the spot kick with little fuss for his fourth goal of the season in all competitions.

Having notched 14 efforts on goal in the first half alone, the home side began the second stanza where they had ended the first – on the front foot with Traore forcing Dzhanaev into a spectacular point blank save from a header after latching on to another dangerous El Ghazi cross on 54 minutes, while Nemanja Gudelj also worked the Rostov glovesman with a long range effort which Dzhanaev did well to tip over the bar in the 68th minute.

Yet, the home side found their Russian counterparts in resolute mood with chances few and far between in the second period despite the home side monopolizing over 70% of the ball throughout the course of the encounter, leaving Ajax coach, Peter Bosz with more questions than answers ahead of next week’s second leg in Rostov-on-Don.

Man of the Match: Anwar El Ghazi



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Russian Football News‘s Martin Lowe is here to tell all Ajax’s fans what to expect from Rostov this Tuesday night.

Rostov’s victory in Brussels two weeks ago over Anderlecht ensured European group stage football for the first time in the club’s history, with a tantalising caveat of an opportunity that it could be in the Champions League rather than the Europa League many predicted if they prove successful in the playoff round. While some hoped for a glamour tie against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the end result could prove the most fruitful in their hopes of progression after being paired with a below-par Ajax side, who’ve been going through a recent rough patch.

Since that high point at the beginning of August however, nothing has gone straight forward for last season’s RFPL surprise package. Days after their historic victory, influential coach Kurban Berdyev quit his role in the dugout, a decision that had been coming for the past 6 months after disputes with the club’s hierarchy, but nonetheless is a hammer blow to the club’s immediate future. This was followed by a substandard home season opener against Ural, which ended goalless, before defeat this weekend just gone away in St. Petersburg to Zenit, where they let go an early 2-0 lead.

Worries going forward concern further exits, with a number of the “Berdyev contingent” set to jump ship to join their coach at his new club Spartak Moscow. Rostov’s player of the night in Brussels Sardar Azmoun alongside Ecuadorian midfielder Christan Noboa, who made similar moves alongside Berdyev from Rubin to Rostov in the last two years are muted to be treading the same path of their Turkmenistani mentor once again.

To say Rostov are a side in transition would be an understatement, given that we’re only three games into the domestic season makes the situation ever more unstable. Former Rostov and national team striker Dmitri Kirichenko has taken over initially in the dugout while the Selmashi consider a full time appointment. A money spinning passage through to the Champions League group stages will do his case of taking over on a permanent basis the world of good. Or at least we thought so. Monday afternoon, Rostov announced that they had brought back Berdyev as an consultant, meaning he’s likely to be on the sideline when the game kicks off.


Aside to the pressure domestically which comes with such a lofty finish last season, Rostov’s cautious tactics have and will work wonders in Europe, where they will again be considered underdogs. Again they’ll aim to soak up possession before looking to hit the opposition on the counter attack, an approach that was fully utilised this weekend in their second goal against Zenit.


Sardar Azmoun – The star man across their qualifying round with Anderlecht, especially in Brussels where he led the line brilliantly on the counter, is a pivotal figure once again but question marks continue to swirl around his future. While interest from Western Europe has cooled for the moment, after his red card against Ural and his subsequent suspension, Berdyev’s exit has generated murmurs that the Iranian striker will follow him to Moscow.

If Azmoun is unfavoured, or sold on in the meantime, Denis Poloz has proved he can comfortably fill in, as he did this last weekend netting an early brace in the capital.

Cesar Navas – Another player loyal to Berdyev in the past, the Spaniard is a key figure in the centre of Rostov’s three man defence. His European pedigree picked up while playing with Rubin Kazan will prove invaluable once more, given the lack of experience in the squad and now dugout.


Heading to Amsterdam for the first leg, it’ll be a much tougher ask for Rostov than it was two weeks ago given the changing landscape at the club. What they do have in their favour however is an opposition out of form and the knowledge they have the home leg still to come.

It won’t be a surprise to see Rostov surrender a large portion of possession to the Dutch side, but if they can keep the deficit down, and look for an away goal on the counter, they’ll be more than confident returning home for the second leg.

Prediction: Ajax 2-1 Rostov


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