Mere Seconds Separated the Bulls from a Win

Friendly game. FC Krasnodar 1-1 SK Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)

FC Krasnodar 1-1 (1-0) SK Slavia Prague

Goals: Suleymanov, 21 (1-0), Deli, 90+1 (1-1).

FC Krasnodar (Russia): Adamov, Yanbayev, Naldo, Zhirov, Ristić (Ivashin, 68), Gritsayenko, Utkin (Matsukatov, 83), Zhigulyov (Golubev, 76), Joãozinho, Suleymanov, Komlichenko (Ignatyev, 56).

SK Slavia Prague (Czech Republic): Kovář, Jugas (van Buren, 46), Deli, Flo (Bílek, 46), Bořil (Frydrych, 46), Souček, Rotan (Šćuk, 46), Altintop (Švento, 46), Danny (Mingazov, 46), Tecl (Hušbauer, 46), Mešanović (Škoda, 46).

Yellow card: Golubev, 81 (foul play).

Referees: Krainer, Stachel, Nestler (all Austria).

8 July 2017. Austria. Bad Blumau. Sportplatz Bad Blumau Stadium. Cloudy. 26 degrees. 150 spectators.

And so it happened that FC Krasnodar boss Igor Shalimov again fielded an experimental youth squad for the scrimmage with SK Slavia Prague in the same way as it happened at the winter training camp in Spain. The team the Bulls met half a year ago was different though, since back then it was considered one of the challengers for the Czech First League champion title. Now in a small town of Bad Blumau, Austria, the black-greens had to play against an actual titleholder ready to defend their trophy and about to start the new UEFA Champions League career this season. To make matters worse, all key Slavia players made an early appearance in the game including the three most experienced rookies of the team who are well-known in Europe, namely Danny, Altintop and Rotan.

In the very beginning the Krasnodar players felt themselves awkward a bit, so the Prague squad composed of physically powerful players got a firm hold of the initiative. The black-green defense made no blunder however, so no real threat occurred next to the goal guarded by Adamov. Step by step the Bulls were able to push the action away from their penalty area, and mid through the first half they even went as far as scoring an opener. The red and white players of the Slavia team cleared the ball away from their goal after it had been served from a corner kick, but Ristić stole it back from an opponent at the pitch side. The Serb then left his marking player behind and took a biting shot that the goalie managed to repel, but Magomed-Shapi Suleymanov won the second ball and proceeded with a low unsaveable shot that tricked Kovář the keeper.

SK Slavia kept their territorial advantage before the half-time, but the most dangerous episode took place next to Adamov’s domain by chance. Zhirov cut the ball abruptly towards his own goal as he was interrupting a low cross, and the young Krasnodar keeper displayed a phenomenal reaction saving the ball on its way to the top corner. FC Krasnodar defended in a confident way, and just before the half-time they launched a very dangerous counterattack. Unfortunately for the black-greens Utkin failed to beat an opponent in the most decisive moment and lost the ball.

SK Slavia manager Jaroslav Šilhavý released as many as eight fresh players on pitch for the second half, and those rushed towards Adamov’s domain with renewed energy. Still, the defensive ranks of the Bulls looked massive. Even if Prague players arrived to the shooting positions, they either missed with their shots or it was FC Krasnodar keeper who was unfailing in blocking the path of the ball with his reliable performance in the goal area.

The all-black squad did not attack that often perhaps, but their attacking actions were sharp nonetheless. In this manner, with an hour of the game done Suleymanov was very close to success two more times. His sneaky bent shot missed the target just barely at first, whereas another one Magomed-Shapi took a bit later from a free kick made the ball hit the crossbar of the Slavia team.

The Russians succeeded with a classy combination at the death. It was supposed to be finished by Joãozinho as he arrived to a rendezvous with the goalkeeper, but the Czech collective was saved by the woodwork again when the ball shot by the FC Krasnodar No. 22 hit the goalpost. Almost immediately afterwards the Bulls proceeded with the second goal, but the Austrian referee team cancelled it as they had observed Ignatyev in a minuscule offside position when he scored it.

A single minute of injury time was added to the game by the ref, and this was the minute when the Červenobílí finally managed to score an equalizing goal. The mighty SK Slavia centre-back Simon Deli made a run towards the second pole after a corner kick pushing the ball into the net literally along with the short Yanbayev as the latter was desperately trying to prevent it.

It is of course very disappointing to concede a goal a few seconds to the full-time, but on the whole FC Krasnodar can record this particular game on the list of well-played ones. The experimental youth squad of the black-greens fought on equal terms against a very experienced and physically strong team that also happens to be the current champion of a respectable European football nation. The young Bulls fought well and deserved to win.