The November meeting of the national team, led by Valery Karpin, coincided with the start of the World Cup in Qatar. The Russian team was preparing for their Asian tour on the Dushanbe-Tashkent route, while Cristiano Ronaldo awkwardly greeted Bruno Fernandes in the Portuguese national team’s locker room after a resounding interview with Piers Morgan.
The first stop of the Russian team was planned as Tajikistan. On November 15, a plane with Russian players landed at Dushanbe airport and the next day the players trained before the match. The artificial turf of the Central Republic Stadium caused the most fears before the match – the field was laid directly on the concrete surface, so the friendly match turned into a dangerous match, where the risk of injury was much higher than usual. .
At the pre-match press conference, Valery Karpin explained that the oldest and most experienced players should not be expected on the field due to the synthetic surface. As a result, the starting sequence turned out to be experimental:
the place at the gate was taken by Spartak’s goalkeeper Alexander Selikhov; four defenders Daniil Khlusevich (Spartak), Alexander Soldatenkov (Soviet Wings), Maxim Osipenko (Rostov), Artem Makarchuk (Sochi); Rostov’s Daniil Glebov, Lokomotiv’s Anton Miranchuk and Rostov’s Daniil Utkin formed the midfield line, while the offensive trio was Lechi Sadulaev (Akhmat), Fedor Chalov (CSKA) and Sergey Pinyaev (Krylya Sovetov).
The last player on this list made his name in the history of the Russian national team, updating the success of Igor Akinfeev 18 years ago and becoming the youngest player to make his debut for the national team.
The match created a lot of excitement in Dushanbe – all 20,000 tickets available for the match were sold, giving great support to Tajikistan players. True, there were some incidents: An hour and a half before the starting whistle, the lights went out in the stadium, and just before the game there was a crush in the arena entrance groups.
Fortunately, none of the spectators were injured.
The starting minutes of the struggle passed under the control of the Russians. The halftime moment was in the sixth minute, when Pinyaev moved from the left flank into the empty area of the penalty area, where Chalov was exposed by anyone – the serve turned out a little stronger than it should have been: the striker failed to reach the ball and possession passed to the Tajik team.
A similar moment occurred 10 minutes later in the performance of the same players, but this time the home team’s goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov stepped far beyond the goal, clearing space for Chalov to kick. This time, however, the CSKA striker failed to hit the target.
Towards the middle of the first half of the match, the game calmed down and equality was achieved on the field. The Russians held the ball great and tried to increase the speed, but due to the pitch, it was not necessary to rely on the high-speed breakthroughs of the wingers due to the risk of stumbling and twisting, such as the knee or foot. .
As a result, the score was not opened in the first half – the teams went to the locker room with a score of 0:0.
During the break, Valery Karpin made three changes: Vladimir Sychevoi made his debut for the national team, replacing Fedor Chalov, Sergey Pesyakov replaced Alexander Selikhov and Dynamo midfielder Arsen Zakharyan appeared in the goal, replacing Anton Miranchuk.
Sychevoi made his first game move for the national jersey in the 49th minute: Vahdat Khanonov collapsed on the grass after coming into contact with the attacker who wanted to kick the ball with his foot from the summer.
Two minutes later, Rostov goalkeeper Sergei Pesyakov unsuccessfully sprained his foot while trying to get a pass from a defender. The goalkeeper left the field with the help of team captain Daniil Glebov.
Anton Shunin took the field instead of Pesyakov. It seemed to him that in the 58th minute of the match, the Tajik players took the first shot into the goal, but the position of Mabatshoev was far from the best – the Dynamo goalkeeper easily took the ball in his hands.
Daniil Utkin had a great moment in the middle of the second half of the game – Lecha Sadulaev’s side pass bounced off the home defender right in the chest of the 23-year-old Rostov midfielder who managed to pass and shoot. itself.
The score of 0:0 was not suitable for the players and coaching staff of the Russian team. Towards the end of regular time, Andrey Mostovoy and Daniil Fomin took the field, but these substitutions did not have a significant impact on the course of the game.
Five minutes before the end of the match, the Russians still managed to get the ball into the goalkeeper’s goal – Daniil Utkin managed to finish after Sychev’s kick, but a second before that, the referee of the game committed a foul. : As soon as Arsen Zakharyan took the corner, Maxim Osipenko broke the rules with his opponent and fought inside someone else’s penalty area.
In the time added to the second half, the Russians made a mass on Rustem Yatimov’s gates, but the last stage of the attack from Karpin’s wards did not hold. The bottom line – a goalless draw.
Moving to the hotel where they will spend the night after the match, the team will then go on loan to Tashkent, where they will play against Uzbekistan on the opening day of the 2022 World Cup. The whistle for the match on Sunday will sound at 15:00 Moscow time.
Gregory Robert is a sports aficionado and a writer for “Social Bites”. He provides in-depth coverage of the latest sporting events and trends, offering a unique and knowledgeable perspective on the world of sports.