Next Friday, 9th of October 2015, an extremely motivated Russia will travel to Chisinau to measure forces with their neighbours of Moldova at Stadionul Zimbru for the 2016 UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round.
If Russia overcome Moldova and their closest contenders, Sweden and Montenegro, lose points next Friday, the Russians will automatically secure a place in the European Championship next by granting the second place in Group G.
After a disastrous campaign under Fabio Capello’s stewardship, Russia are currently going through a positive moment with two wins in two matches. The arrival of Leonid Slutsky to the helm of the team was, in a way, a breath of fresh air for the team itself, as they’ve apparently managed to get rid of Capello’s tactical boredom and seem to, at least, have recovered some of the joy they used to have when playing football.
A narrow 1-0 home win over Sweden and a splendid goal galore at Liechtenstein served to increase the team’s motivation levels, which was on the verge of collapsing before Slutsky’s arrival. The current CSKA Moscow and Russian National Team’s head coach is no miracle maker, but he has been, so far, changing the image and the character of the team.
The last time both sides went head-to-head was almost one year ago at Moscow, for a match that ended in a surprising 1-1 draw. Artem Dzyuba opened the score for the home side, but the former FC Anzhi’s centre back Alexandru Epureanu got the equalizer just one minute later
As for Moldova, they are once again having a considerably poor qualifying campaign and they are currently at the bottom of their group, even behind Liechtenstein, with just two points from eight matches. The team’s interim head coach, the former Romanian international Stefan Stoica, replaced a winless Alexandru Curtianu early this year, but so far he has not yet managed to change Moldova’s back luck.
Moldova is currently struggling with some social unrest due to an enormous bank fraud scandal and, for that particular reason, the people’s attention will probably be focused on that matter rather than on next Friday’s clash against Russia.
The last time Russia visited Chisinau was 15 years ago in a match that ended in a 1-0 for the visitors, thanks to a goal from the former Spartak Moscow’s wonder kid Maxim Buznikin.
Stats: W-0 L-3 D-2
Recent Form - LLDDL
Stats: W-3 L-1 D-1
Recent Form - WWLWD
Cebanu - Jardan - Armas - Erhan - Carp - Epureanu - Ionita - Antoniuc - Racu - Patras - Dedov
Russia (4-2-3-1) - Akinfeev - Smolnikov - Ignashevich - Berezutski - Kombarov - Denisov - Shirokov - Dzagoev - Shatov - Kokorin - Dzyuba
Injury List / Suspended Players
Moldova - Gatcan (sus) - Golovatenco (sus)
Russia - None
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