Anzhi Makhachkala’s first match in the Russian Premier League in over three months ended up with the Russian side, Newcastle’s opponents on Thursday night at St. James’ Park, losing to bottom club Mordovia Soransk by 2-0. Mordovia are rock bottom with only 12 points from their 20 games played – so it was a really shock defeat for Anzhi.
Guus Hiddink - Anzji manager
This was the Russian League’s 21st round of games after the last game was played way back at the beginning of October, and the Mordovia goals came in the 3rd and 73rd minutes..
CSKA Moscow had beaten Sovetov 2-0 on Saturday, and they were 5 points clear at the top of the Russian League when the winter break came..
Guus Hiddink had fielded a only a slightly weakened team, after some injuries picked up playing against Newcastle – like Willian – who picked up hamstring injury in that game.
This is what Guus said after the game and reports say they fielded their strongest side:
“Everything went wrong way for us today,” Anzhi manager Guus Hiddink said. “We made too many mistakes in defence allowing our rivals to score twice.”
“My team love to play football but sometimes my players lack fighting spirit when they need to battle tough for the win. Today Saransk were in a brave mood. They really battled for the win and won deservedly.”
“I’m not looking for excuses. I can easily say that we’ve not rehabilitated ourselves after the match against Newcastle, when we lost some players to injury. I would also not like to plead the bad weather and artificial pitch.” “We must analyse the reasons for the defeat and make self-critical decisions”.
We know Willian had to go off in that first half last Thursday night, and the lack of the Brazilian up front certainly helped Newcastle in Moscow.
And we wouldn’t expect the Brazilian to be able to play on Thursday night – Traore started for Anzhi yesterday – and he was the man who came on for Willian last Thursday night in Moscow.
Anzhi will still be able to play a very strong side against Newcastle on Thursday night, and we’d hazard a guess that Guus Hiddink rested some of his players yesterday – and our lads will need to be at their best to go through.
Note – today, we are helping out one of our long time avid readers David Whelan, who’s recently written a science fiction novel and had it self-published – so here’s the site – the novel’s called the Silent Saga – and we are not getting anything out of this – we are trying to help David out a little.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org