Record-breaking Ural crush Rostov in blistering win

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Rostov 1-4 Ural Ekaterinburg
Saturday 11 December, Rostov Arena

Goals: Rostov - Poloz (pen) 19’; Ural - Gadzhimuradov 3’, 39’, Adamov 6’, Bicfalvi 43’
Man of the Match: Denys Kulakov (Ural)

Arguably the most breathtaking half of football all season - and certainly for Ural - saw a blistering pace, five goals scored, plenty of great chances missed, records tumble, and Rostov left shell-shocked by a Ramazan Gadzhimuradov masterclass.

It was Rostov who could have struck after a matter of mere seconds though, as Pontus Almqvist’s scorching pace left Arsen Adamov suddenly scrambling desperately to catch the flying Swedish winger. The Ural defender did just enough to challenge Almqvist; an inch less pace, and he’d surely have conceded a penalty. 

Their battle continued after 20 minutes when Almqvist simply had too much pace for Adamov, leaving his marker no choice but to cynically bring him down, and this time Pavel Kukuyan pointed to the spot after a VAR review. On his 200th appearance for Rostov, Dmitry Poloz stepped up to convert the penalty, extending his remarkable run of scoring every single RPL penalty in his career.

By then though, Rostov were already 2-0 down. Gadzhimuradov proved there was more than one unstoppable flier on the pitch, latching onto Denys Kulakov’s well-judged lofted ball over the top and picking his spot across Sergey Pesyakov well.

Two minutes later, and the visitors - who had scored just three goals away from home all season before the game - had doubled their advantage via the most unlikely of sources. Gadzhimuradov had hared down the left flank before pulling a low cross into the penalty area slightly behind Rafal Augustinyak. The Pole managed to get a small but vital touch to help it on its way towards the edge of the penalty area, where Adamov threaded a superb shot into the bottom right corner.

Rostov were stunned but still dominating possession, and after Poloz’s penalty they at least managed to stem the tide somewhat. As the first period was coming to an end though, once again Gadzhimuradov caused havoc for the hosts. His surging run led to him being brought down just outside the area, from where Eric Bicfalvi hit a free kick that deflected off Rostov captain Danil Glebov and onto the post.

Andrey Egorychev lifted the loose ball back into the middle, and although Rostov had six defenders all packed into the six-yard area, they couldn’t help Ivan Kuzmichev flicking it on to Gadzhimuradov to slam home an emphatic half-volley.

Just a couple of minutes before the break, Egorychev carried a clearance half the length of the pitch before feeding the overlapping Kulakov on the right flank. The veteran full-back’s cross was immaculately delivered and required no invitation from a gleeful Eric Bicfalvi to fling himself ahead of his marker to bullet a diving header into the far corner.

With a remarkable 4-1 lead, Ural understandably began the second half full of confidence, and after a composed first 20 minutes or so they were able to rest some tired legs. Glebov was on hand to lash a steaming drive that Ural keeper Ilya Pomazun could only turn away with his outstretched foot, before an outrageous overhead kick from Almqvist was tipped wide by Pomazun’s flying save.

It was the first time Ural had ever scored four goals away from home in Russian championships - and only the seventh time they’d managed four goals at all - and also the first time they’d scored more than twice against Rostov. Having been rooted to the foot of the table for much of this campaign, they’ve now gone six RPL matches unbeaten; the last time they went longer without losing was well over four years ago.

Most importantly though, Ural have guaranteed they will start the spring out of the relegation zone.

Rostov drop to 13th on 18 points, while Ural jump above them into 11th on 19 points.

Next RPl fixtures: Saturday/Sunday 26/27 February 2022 - Rostov vs Krylia; Nizhny Novgorod vs Ural

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