Koetzer Posted April 22, 2020 Share Posted April 22, 2020 Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia with population over 1.5 million. Often unofficially named ‘the capital of Siberia’, it’s the major industrial, commercial and scientific center of this huge region. However, football here rarely had a good time, even in comparison to other Siberian regions. Tomsk had a Premier League team for about ten years, other neighbours can boast about local players reaching the national team and European clubs (like Smertin, Sychev and Golovin). Though Novosibirsk had one moment to remember, ten years ago… FC Sibir, led by a Belarusian manager Igor Kriushenko, reached the top division for the first time ever. The team, which obviously lacked quality to play at this level, anyway caught the attention with their attractive and sometimes way too adventurous style… well, and this unusual kit design too. The start of the league season was poor, despite avoiding big teams (except CSKA) the first win came only in 8th game, at home against Rostov. At this point it was clear that the relegation battle is going to be tough, however there was something really positive that spring. Those years the league and cup seasons in Russia were held with different schedules, and while the league was only at its start, the cup already went to the decisive stages. With most of top teams eliminated on early stages, Sibir had a relatively easy route and after defeating Luch (a second tier side) and Alania (who as well won promotion to RPL the previous season) reached the final against Zenit. They already earned a European place, and according to the rules of that time, Sibir qualified to the Europa League regardless of the result! The final itself didn’t bring any surprises (Zenit won 1-0) but the feeling of incoming European football inspired the team. Two wins, draws against Dinamo and Lokomotiv (the latest came after this amazing long shot from Dmitry Molosh, who actually scored other three similar goals that season), and the situation didn’t look as hopeless as before. In July Sibir made their European debut against Cypriot side Apollon Limassol. The home game ended with 1-0 win, the only goal was scored by team captain and best goalscorer Alexey Medvedev (who would soon leave the team and join Rubin, the reigning champions). The return leg in Cyprus was tough despite playing with a man advantage since 15th minute, but 2-1 loss was enough to qualify for the next round and face PSV. 19th of August became a historical day for local football. With both teams reduced to ten players even before half time, there were few scoring chances and the game could end with a boring draw, when this happened: Скачать видео Of course, we couldn’t hold on this advantage in Eindhoven, losing 0-5, and also couldn’t keep the pace in the league. A home defeat to Alania after two goals in injury time didn’t mathematically mean relegation but the safe 14th place wasn’t anymore close. The team returned to FNL and never actually battled for promotion since then, being a midtable side. And in summer of 2019 the club was dissolved due to rising debts, with a new one, FC Novosibirsk founded immediately and entered PFL, the third and lowest professional tier in Russia. The new club had ambitious goals – it was planned to win promotion to FNL in the first season, and then reach the Premier League once again before 2030. However, they were only third before the winter break, 12 points behind leading Irtysh Omsk. And in current situation its future (as future of most regional clubs in Russia which heavily depend on support of local authorities) is actually unknown. 4 Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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