Khimki in the RPL: Two goalscorers moved to Zenit and Spartak, manager changed every season

print version

We have looked back at newly-promoted FC Khimki’s previous seasons in the RPL, after the Moscow region team returned to the elite this summer after an 11-year break.

Home team

The path of FC Khimki from foundation to RPL debut took 10 years. The club began life in 1996 after the merger of two city teams, Novator and Rodina, and in 2006 won the second-tier First Division. But Khimki were already well-acquainted with the top level, because a year before they had reached the final of the Russian Cup. Then they lost 1-0 to CSKA, having conceded a goal from Yury Zhirkov; 15 years later, he again prevented the Moscow region team from winning the trophy, only this time as a Zenit player.

In 2007, Khimki had a difficult start in the RPL. With one win in six matches, Vladimir Kazachenok's team propped up the table alongside Rubin Kazan. However, after a couple of matchdays, they rose to sixth and remained in midtable. The Red-Blacks were in the top five for games at home, racking up 29 out of their final total of 37 points in their own stadium, and only lost at home to Lokomotiv Moscow and FC Moscow. They finished ninth in that first season.

In 2008, the middle-class residents of Khimki turned into outsiders: they were in the relegation zone from the start, winning just twice in the first half of the season, again at home. The key was the matchday 25 game against Lokomotiv in Cherkizovo: Sergey Yuran’s side beat the Railwaymen 2-0 and moved up to 14th. Khimki were level with Luch-Energiya Vladivostok on 20 points, but were higher on number of wins. On the next matchday, Khimki won 3-1 at home against their rivals from the far East and remained in the RPL, while Luch and Shinnik were relegated.

However, in 2009, Khimki couldn’t save themselves. Before the month-long break in June, Khimki had only scored four points in 11 matches. In July they won twice at home and closed the gap, but in the second half of the season they lost all 15 matches and finished in last place with ten points. This was almost an RPL record; in the history of Russian Championships, only FC Tyumen finished with fewer when they ended up with just eight in 1998. Alongside Khimki, Kuban Krasnodar were also relegated from the Premier Liga, having been promoted together in 2006.

Most memorable RPL match: Khimki 3-0 Spartak (25 May 2007)

In May 2007, Spartak came to Rodina Stadium as RPL leaders, and Khimki by that stage hadn’t lost at home, including taking points off CSKA Moscow in a 1-1 draw. Although the crowd for the Red-Whites game was slightly lower than it had been against CSKA - 9500 compared to 9700 - but the result was more pleasing to the owners. Roman Shirokov opened the scoring in the fifth minute with his first goal for the club. In the middle of the half Anton Arkhipov increased the advantage, and in the 53rd minute the third goal was scored by defender Miodrag Jovanovic as Khimki ran out 3-0 winners.

In March 2008, Khimki scored three goals at home to Spartak a little faster: this time the hosts responded to Wellington's goal with a double by Eldar Nizamutdinov and a precise strike by Nastja Ceh to lead 3-1 by the 52nd minute. Then the Red-Whites hit back to draw 3-3 thanks to Roman Pavlyuchenko and Ignas Dedura, the Lithuanian equalising in added time.

Only the captain has returned from last RPL stint

The only player to leave Khimki in 2009 and return 11 years later is defender Evgeny Gapon. He said goodbye to the RPL at the age of 18 after having playing 13 matches, and receiving a red card against Zenit in a 4-0 defeat. He has Premier League experience from his time at Mordovia Saransk (2015/16) and Anzhi (2018/19), and is now back in the top flight as captain at the age of 29.

Six players have completed three full seasons in the RPL for Khimki: goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky, defenders Viktor Golovatenko, Miodrag Jovanovic and Vule Trivunovic, midfielder Dragan Blatnjak and striker Aleksandr Antipenko. In the title-winning season in the second tier, Khimki’s top scorer with 22 goals was Andrey Tikhonov. In the RPL, the former Spartak player scored only four times for the club, but the main dangerman of the club’s debut top-flight season was Roman Shirokov, who scored seven to become the team's top scorer. He then moved to Zenit where he won the UEFA Cup and the European Super Cup, and then two league titles.

In 2008, the team unveiled Eldar Nizamutdinov, who moved to the Moscow region from Nosta Novotroitsk who played in the First Division. He not only scored a double against Spartak, but was also in the top seven RPL scorers with nine goals - the same number scored by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov for Lokomotiv and Martin Kushev in Amkar Perm. In the summer of 2009, Nizamutdinov left Khimki for Spartak where he spent six months on loan. Without him, Aleksandr Antipenko was the highest scorer with six goals. The forward became Khimki’s all-time top-flight goalscorer with 15.

Yuran’s thwarted return

A week before the start of this season, Khimki changed their head coach as Dmitry Gunko replaced Sergei Yuran, who had already coached the team in the RPL. In 2007, Yuran got Shinnik Yaroslavl promoted from the First Division and began their RPL campaign in charge, but was dismissed on 30 April due to unsatisfactory results; he only managed one victory in seven matches. At the end of May 2008  he took charge at Khimki for the first time. Yuran guided his new team to 14th at the end of the year, while his old one finished 15th and were relegated. His contract was not renewed.

In 2006, Khimki had made their way to the RPL under the leadership of the late Vladimir Kazachenok, who finished third in the Soviet Higher League in 1980 with Zenit. He led the team to victory in the First Division with 99 points; only Terek Grozny in 2005 and Mordovia in the 2011/12 transitional championship managed to reach 100 points. Kazachenok worked with the Red-Blacks in the Premier Liga, but in September 2007, he left the team for health reasons; a couple of months earlier, he had been hospitalized with a hypertensive condition.

Khimki finished the season in ninth place under Slavoljub Muslin, who started the new season in charge, but after just two points from five matches the Serb was dismissed. Between April and May, the team was led by Igor Yushchenko, and after him came Yuran, who kept the team in the RPL. Khimki were relegated the following season when they were managed for 22 matches by future Zenit and Dynamo Moscow sporting director Konstantin Sarsania, who left after seven consecutive defeats, and Igor Chugaynov, who lost all eight remaining matches.

Breakthrough with Talalaev

After relegation, Khimki were left out of the fight for promotion for a long time. They finished in 13th place in 2010 and 11th in the transitional season in 2011/12. A year later, Khimki were relegated from the FNL, and it took three seasons to return from the second tier: in 2016, they won the West Division by a 14-point margin.

For three more years the team was midtable in the FNL, but they never fell below third place under Andrey Talalaev before the winter break in the 2019/20 season. By the time the league was declared over, they ended up scoring the most goals (50), and together with Chertanovo conceded the least (19). Although Talalaev left the club in January, the team did not slow down under Yuran.

In March, Khimki defeated Torpedo Moscow 5-1 in the Russian Cup quarter-finals, and then beat both them and Chertanovo in the fight for second place in the FNL. Chertanovo finished on the same points, but Khimki had the edge with a superior head-to-head record. The tournament ended prematurely after 27 matchdays, and Khimki, along with Rotor Volgograd, earned the right to play in the RPL.

Photo: FC Khimki


Latest News:



Causic double ends Arsenal's 14-month wait for an away win

Nizhny Novgorod 2-3 Arsenal Tula



Cabella runs 10-man Akhmat ragged

Akhmat 0-2 Krasnodar 

Обратная связь

Вы можете обратиться в РФПЛ с интересующим Вас вопросом или оставить сообщение (пожелание, замечание). Также вы можете сообщить имеющиеся у вас сведения о "договорных" матчах.


Обратная связь

Вы можете обратиться в компанию Sportradar с интересующим Вас вопросом или оставить сообщение (пожелание, замечание).