Matchday 28 highlights: A year from the start of the season, and between Farfan’s last matches

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We have rounded up the best highlights from matchday 28 of the Russian Premier Liga.

One year has passed since the opening match of the 2019/20 RPL season. On 12 July 2019 Arsenal Tula and Dynamo Moscow met in Tula, with the first goal of the season scored by Miguel Cardoso and the equaliser coming from Gia Grigalava. This is the second season in RPL history to stretch for more than a year. The transitional 2011/12 championship began on 12 March 2011 and ended on 13 May 2012 44 matchdays, while promotion/relegation playoffs took place on 18 and 22 May. The current season will end on 22 July without subsequent playoffs.

Ural Ekaterinburg’s 20-year-old goalkeeper Vladislav Poletaev has played for three teams this season after making his debut in the RPL against FC Krasnodar and contributing six saves. Earlier this season, he played four games in the Youth Championship and appeared twice in the PFL for Ural-II. Poletaev had been involved in one previous first-team match as a reserve in the Russian Cup quarter-final against Shinnik Yaroslavl.

Fedor Chalov has scored in four consecutive games against Rubin. The CSKA forward first scored against Rubin in a 1-1 draw in August 2018, five minutes after coming off the bench at the Kazan Arena. In the next two meetings, his goals brought victories in 2019; 3-0 in March, and 1-0 in August. Chalov opened the scoring in the last meeting at the VEB Arena. He scored for the third match in a row, but Rubin responded with a Evgeny Markov penalty. The Armymen had not previously conceded against Rubin in 278 RPL minutes.

The fifth RPL team secured a place in European competition, as FC Rostov joined Zenit St. Petersburg, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Krasnodar and CSKA with the achievement. Two matchdays before the end of the season, the gap between fifth and sixth place - currently occupied by FC Ufa - is seven points. Dynamo Moscow are nine points behind with a match in hand, but if they draw level with Rostov, they will lose out on head-to-head record after having lost 3-0 and won 2-1. Zenit will play in the Champions League group stage thanks to winning the title. The remaining places will be determined on the last two RPL matchdays and in the Russian Cup, where the Blue-White-Sky Blues are in this weekend’s semi-final. Their victory would hand a Europa League place to the RPL’s sixth-placed team.

Six winning goals this season have been scored by Evgeny Lutsenko. After his strike against FC Tambov he caught up with Zenit strikers Artem Dzyuba and Sardar Azmoun. The Arsenal forward also scored his first winner of the season against Tambov on matchday four as Arsenal won 1-0 in Saransk. Lutsenko also extended his scoring streak to six matches; the RPL record stands at eight consecutive games, set by Rubin’s Alejandro Dominguez in 2009.

Maximilian Philip scored from the penalty spot against Krylia Sovetov Samara to take his personal tally to eight. The Dynamo forward has converted all five of his spot kicks. He has one goal to go to match his personal record set first in the 2016/17 season for Freiburg in the Bundesliga, which he equalled a year later for Borussia Dortmund, from whom he joined the Moscow club last summer.

Remy Cabella took the ninth penalty of his career against Ural Ekaterinburg, and the Frenchman scored it with a panenka. Of his eight previous attempts in France’s Ligue 1 the midfielder scored five, the last of them on 6 October 2018 against Lille for Saint-Etienne. The goal against Ural was the 30-year-old's first in the RPL.

Jefferson Farfan missed 14 months in the RPL due to health problems. On 4 May 2019 against Arsenal, the Lokomotiv forward suffered a hip injury and missed the rest of the club's season. In June, during the Copa America, he injured his knee and was out for the rest of the year, and this spring he contracted coronavirus. Against Ufa, the Peruvian returned to the Railwaymen and equalised in the 81st minute. Of his 20 RPL goals, Farfan has scored most of them in the last 15 minutes - seven, plus one in added time.

It took 16 matches for teams from Sochi to beat Spartak Moscow in Russian Championships for the first time. Zhemchuzhina Sochi played in the top flight from 1993 to 1999, during which time they drew twice and lost 12 times against the Red-Whites. Now the city is represented by its eponymous team, which was formed in 2018 and immediately made its way to the RPL. FC Sochi lost their opening match to Spartak in Moscow 1-0, but took revenge at the Fisht Olympic Stadium by the same scoreline thanks to Pavel Maslov's own goal. Incidentally, three own goals have been scored in Sochi’s favour this season, putting Vladimir Fedotov's team alongside CSKA at the top of this list.

Sebastian Driussi scored his 20th RPL goal, becoming the third Argentine in the league’s history to reach this mark after other Zenit stars Alejandro Dominguez (44) and Hector Bracamonte (46). For the second year in a row, the Zenit forward earned his team a draw in Grozny. In May 2019, Driussi's late goal saved the St. Petersburg team from defeat at the Akhmat Arena and helped them win the championship.

Photo: Konstantin Rybin/RPL, Denis Tyrin/CSKA


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