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High-risk football pummels Rostov into relegation waters

Rostov have to show glimpses of pragmatism to survive relegation this term.
Rostov have to show glimpses of pragmatism to survive relegation this term.
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Amritangshu Bandyopadhyay

Rostov's ambition to stay clear of the relegation battles took a major hit. They went down 2-1 to newly-promoted Nizhny Novgorod for the second time this season. The result pushed them ever closer to the relegation waters as the club struggled to find any form whatsoever.

With three defeats in their last five league outings, Rostov are in treacherous waters as the Russian Premier League heads into its final third.

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Too much risk, too much ruin!

This campaign has been Rostov's worst-ever top-flight season.

With seven games remaining in the season, the club are still five points off the top ten.

Much of that has to be attributed to the style of football they have played this season. The downfall essentially started last season when Valeri Karpin took the job on a permanent basis. Karpin, the former Russia head coach, is one of the few advocates from the East who embrace modern possession-based football. One of his core ambitions was to make Muzhikis a football club with modern football standards.

However, his ambitions took a big hit as the club recorded their worst ever-finish in a top-flight campaign for the second year in a row.

His decision to opt for a back-three with two fullbacks operating higher up the pitch has proved to be catastrophic over the last two seasons. Rostov have conceded as many as two goals per game. What made the strategy even worse was that the club did not even have the resources to play modern football that Karpin embraced.

With depleted finances, the club are forced to buy aged rival-club rejects on free-transfers in order to compensate for their squad strength. Be it Denis Terentyev from Zenit or Igor Kalinin from Rubin Kazan, the club has been skewed in their preference to buy this profile of players. Both of these players still happen to form the core of Rostov's defensive line.

No wonder Karpin has failed to create any impact during his spell at Oblast.

Poor Mentality from Rostov

Apart from their constant push for high-risk football, the club can also be accused of being way too sloppy in crunch games this season.

In their match against Krasnodar early on in the season, they benefitted from both an opposition own goal and a red card; however, they failed to hold onto the lead and ended up drawing the game. A similar occurrence was witnessed this weekend against Nizhny after they leveled the tie half an hour into the game. Muzhikis failed to defend a simple cross at the half-way mark to concede the winner.

Subsequently, they have drawn almost one-third of their fixtures this term, which is the joint-highest among the division's top twelve.


Edited by Puranjay Dixit
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