PFC Sochi and Akhmat Grozny are set to collide in a crunch Russian Premier League game at Fisht Olympic Stadium on Monday night (IST).
The season may be relatively new but the game against your direct rivals are more than just three points. Considering both PFC Sochi and Akhmat Grozny are in the midst of a relegation battle at, it's six-pointer for both the teams.
There's not much to separate these two teams either as both have 9 points after 10 games, with the same number of wins (2 each), draws (2 each) and defeats (6 each) heading into this game.
But before drawing any conclusion one must consider an interesting stat, which suggests there's no favorite in this match.
Sochi are the only team yet to win a home game in the 2019-20 Russian Premier League season, while Akhmetiv remains winless away from home as well.
The Russian Premier League match will be played between PFC Sochi and Akhmat Grozny at Fisht Stadium, in Guangzhou, China. The ground has a capacity of 47,659.
The game will start at 10:00 PM (IST), on Monday, September 20.
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Recent form (Last six matches)
PFC Sochi – L W L L W L
Akhmat Grozny – D L D L D W
PFC Sochi Team News:
Twenty-six-year-old forward Maksim Barsov has been ruled out of this game through a knee injury. He is yet to feature for PFC Sochi this season. No other injury concerns for the hosts.
No fixed line-up means, Sochi my make changes here again:
Manager Aleksandr Tochilin has failed to stick to the same playing 11 for the two consecutive games. This trend suggests he may name a different playing 11 from the last game.
That said, Sochi achieved a fantastic result on the road last weekend when they beat Dynamo Moscow 2-3 at VTB Arena. That was a brilliant counter-attacking football, which was possible only because of Dynamo's tendency to play the short passes. But Akhmat are direct, and sometimes throw the long balls above opponents' backline, which suggests that the same tactics may not work here.
So what are the likely changes!
Miha Mevlja got himself a goal against Dynamo and had a good game. So he should be the part of the backline alongside mainstay Fyodor Kudryashov at the left-back.
Nikita Kalugin and Ivan Novoseltsev fight for a berth at right-back, while Ivan Miladinović should get the nod ahead of Igor Yurganov to partner Mevlja at the heart of the defense.
Christian Noboa is one of the first names in the playing 11, and he will start here. But only two amongst Ibragim Tsallagov, Nikita Burmistrov, Dušan Lagator and are expected to start here in the midfield.
Our pick is Tsallagov and Pomerko.
Expect Dmitry Poloz and Andrei Mostovoy to start on either side of main man Anton Zabolotny.
PFC Sochi Probable XI:
Soslan Dzhanaev (GK), Fedor Kudryashov, Ivan Miladinovic, Miha Mevlja, Ivan Novoseltsev / Nikita Kalugin, Nikita Burmistrov / Ibragim Tsallagov, Christian Noboa, Aleksey Pomerko, Andrey Mostovoy, Dmitry Poloz, Anton Zabolotny
Akhmat Grozny FC Team News:
Ablaye Mbengue is still suffering from an illness and will be missing the game. In addition, Ravanelli and Vitaly Gudiev remain sidelined as well and are not available for selection.
Midfielder Anton Shvets will be serving the 2nd of his three-game ban here.
Fitness boost for the visitors:
According to official reports, forward Abubakar Kadyrov trained with the teammates this week and could be included here, while midfielder Mikhail Gaschenkov is back to full fitness and is available for selection.
Akhmat Grozny Probable XI:
Evgeni Gorodov (GK), Zoran Nizic, Wilker Angel, Andrey Semenov, Magomed Musalov, Damian Szymanski, Denis Glushakov, Ismael, Rizvan Utsiev, Oleg Ivanov, Andres Ponce
Likely to score:
AKM vs SO Dream11 potential winner:
We expect both the teams to play a draw here.