The final two matches of the OFL season saw BFC Rovers pitted against two of the strongest teams in the Division. The first match, against league leaders Vympel Odintsovo, started at a frantic pace with both sides pushing forward and creating chances to score. Rovers debutants Guler and V.Yagniatinski both held the ball up well in the Rovers attack and linked up well together, with Smyslov in support behind. Unfortunately, however, some clumsy and disorganized team defending gifted Vympel three easy goals from inside the Rovers box. It was a shame after Rovers’ good work in the first half. Into the second half, Rovers started on the front foot and took the game to their opponents. Saraev, who covered every blade of grass in the second half, found himself on the edge of the box with the ball at his feet after a good Rovers attack and drilled the ball home to make the score 3-1. However, Vympel’s composed passing style began to wear their opponents down, and they added two more goals to make it 5-1 as the final whistle went.
In match 2, immediately following match 1, Rovers (with no substitutes on the day) struggled to find their rhythm in the game. They had defensive partnership Saraev and Petrov to thank for dealing with wave after wave of attacks from their opponent, DFK Impulse. Rovers’ best chances in the match were fashioned by the link up play on the counter attack of Navarette and Guler, but unfortunately for Rovers the goals did not come. Rovers lost the match 4-0, but they were understandably tired given the efforts expended in the prior match.
In their last league matches, a heavily changed Union squad endured a day of late heartbreak, with three good performances resulting in two draws and a defeat. The first match, Union were the much better side, with Metelskiy scoring a fantastic solo effort early on. Union had the lion’s share of possession and chances, but we unable to take them. The outstanding efforts of goalkeeper M.Van der Meulen, coupled with outstanding defending from Metelskiy, gave Union a solid platform to build on. A late, deflected goal meant that the first game ended 1-1.
The second match was against much stiffer opposition. A very even match began at a high intensity, and Union found themselves a goal down after a few minutes. This did not phase them however, and soon forced an equaliser after some lovely football. At half-time the score was a deserved draw. In the second half, Union were overran and found themselves unable to cope with the constant waves of attack. Vinet was outstanding and won every ball that came his way. Despite their best efforts in unfavourable conditions, the score finished 2-1.
The final match saw a change of tact from Union, with Gaaliche becoming goalkeeper. M.Van der Meulen seized upon indecisive defending to score a lovely long range effort. BFS again were in complete control of the match but could not convert chances into goals. M.Van der Meulen again scored to make the score 2-1 after a hopeful equaliser. Gaaliche made some excellent saves, N.Yagniatinski showed some excellent tackling and M.Van der Meulen was showing some excellent movement. Another late equaliser denied Union a final victory, however three good performances were an excellent way to draw the curtain on their Russian Youth League campaign.
With the Russian Youth League season coming to an end, BFC Rovers and BFC Union both can take many positives away from their experiences. Both teams had wins, and played good football, and competed admirably with many different academies from across Moscow and beyond. Results have not always favoured the BFC teams in the initial season in the Russian Youth League but bravo lads – we wish you all an enjoyable Winter break and look forward to continuing the progress in the new season!