Someone, looking out the window, twirls his finger at his temple – what, they say, football in February, and even in such frosts? And he will be right in something – the domestic season has never opened so early. It is one thing to play matches of European cups, which traditionally start in mid-February, and another thing to play matches in the Russian Cup or the championship (resumed in a week). But the decision to play in the winter was made due to the need to finish early in the spring in order to prepare for the European Championship 2020 (1).
Zenit – Arsenal *
Date: 20.02, 17.00 (Moscow time)
This winter, Zenit had a lot of problems due to injuries and covid – they got sick with the virus Artem Dzyuba and the goalkeeper Andrey Lunev, and the most expensive player on the team is a Brazilian Malcolm once again dropped out for a long time due to a serious injury. Three or four other players had minor injuries. In general, preparation for the team Sergey Semak turned out to be blurry.
How all this will affect Zenit’s game is a big question, but Arsenal definitely shouldn’t give up in advance. The weather will not be able to influence the match, since the roof at the Gazprom-Arena will be closed and the players will play in comfortable conditions.
Dynamo – Spartak
Date: 20.02, 19.30
But there was talk about the possible cancellation of the match between Dynamo and Spartak. In Moscow on Saturday, according to various sources, it was expected from minus 10 to minus 18 degrees. According to the regulations, the match may not take place if the thermometer is minus 15 and below. The inspector and the referee of the meeting one hour before the start will have to enter the field with a thermometer and measure the temperature. Still, Tuesday night should be slightly warmer than -15, so the game should be.
By draw, one of the Moscow clubs will leave the Russian Cup in the 1/8 finals. The chances of winning are approximately equal – and this is the main intrigue. Another is the second confrontation between two German coaches: Dynamo Sandro Schwartz and Spartak Domenico Tedesco… Their first meeting at the end of last year ended in a 1: 1 draw.
CSKA – SKA-Khabarovsk
Date: 21.02, 14.30
In the confrontation between the two army clubs, there is a clear favorite – the Muscovites. SKA-Khabarovsk competes in the FNL and is in seventh place, having practically no chance of competing for an entry into the elite of Russian football. But do not forget that Khabarovsk is coaching Sergey Juranalways setting maximum goals for his teams.
The hosts will be extremely interested to see the Venezuelan newcomer to the forward team Solomon Rondonrented from a Chinese club. Previously, he played in Russia for Rubin and Zenit, now he is in Moscow.
Krasnodar – Sochi
Date: 21.02, 17.00
No problems with the weather are expected in Krasnodar, where the local club is playing with neighbors from Sochi. Krasnodar has already played one official match, losing 2: 3 to Dynamo Zagreb in the Europa League. At the finish of last year, Sochi defeated Spartak and Dynamo alternately, reaching the fourth place in the table. Team Vladimir Fedotov will clearly try to advance to the next round.
Lokomotiv – Tambov
Date: 21.02, 17.00
Perhaps the most long-suffering match of the 1/8 finals of the Russian Cup. Only on Friday evening it became known that Tambov will be able to continue playing in the Cup and the championship. The team was already ready to withdraw, because there is no funding and the management has huge salary debts to the players, most of whom have already left Tambov and settled in other clubs.
And yet the Tambovites will come to the game with Lokomotiv, although their roster will be half of local youth, which makes the chances in the game with Muscovites practically zero.
“Rostov” – “Akhmat”
Date: 21.02, 19.30
In the match between Rostov and Akhmat, the hosts are seen as favorites. Firstly, they will play at their own stadium, and secondly, against Grozny the team Valeria Karpina has been performing successfully lately.
“Ufa” – “Ural”
Date: 22.02, 12.00
Perhaps one of those couples where the winner is impossible to predict. Ufa and Ural had many problems in winter, which the teams did not fully solve. And the holding of the match is still a big question – according to forecasts of weather forecasters on Monday, February 22 in Ufa, frosts are expected to minus 28 degrees. Moreover, it will be coldest in the morning, and the start of the game is scheduled for 12.00.
During the day the temperature will rise to 20 degrees, but it is still too cold for a match. Probably, in this case, the RFU postponed the game to a later date.
Khimki – Wings of the Soviets
Date: 22.03, 14.30
Perhaps, Khimki’s chances look more preferable in the confrontation with the still-FNL club. “Bye” – because in the summer Samara residents will probably change their registration and return to the RPL. The club has all the possibilities for this.
All matches can be seen on the TV channels Match TV and Match Premier, as well as on social networks – Odnoklassniki and Vkontakte.