RPL’s top scorer Hamid Agalarov interrupted the five-match “dry” series. The 21-year-old striker saved his team from defeat in the meeting with “Krasnodar” (1: 1), which would be the fifth for “Ufa” in the last six rounds. True, Agalarov scored from the penalty spot, not from the game, but goals, as you know, do not smell. The main thing is that the football player of the Russian youth national team will go down in history as the winner of the sniper race. If, of course, he enters.
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Hamid now has a great advantage over his closest pursuers. Agalarov scored 14 goals, and Artyom Dzyuba from “Zenith”, Fyodor Smolov from “Dynamo” and Dmitry Poloz from “Rostov” – 10. But for eight rounds before the end of the championship this is not the advantage that guarantees the Russian “Golden Boot”. Miracles happen at the end of the season, and this is known, for example, by Dzyuba, who in one match turned from a loser into a winner of a goal-scoring competition. If you forgot, last season the ex-captain of the Russian national team had 16 goals before the final round of the RPL, and the first-placed Serdar Azmun – 19. The Iranian missed the last game with “Tambov”, and Dzyuba made poker for the league outsider and went to receive an individual trophy. “Serdar probably fell off his horse while riding at home,” joked happy Artyom that evening. Of course, this spring we will probably not see such a parody of a football team as “Tambov” a year ago, but over-motivation against the background of lack of motivation in others can work wonders. Therefore, it is too early to crown Agalarov, who in any case grew into a cool forward.
Dzuba and Azmun were the most productive in the RPL both in the previous season and in the 2019/2020 season, when they both scored 17 goals each. Now there will definitely be no duo of Zenit strikers at the top. First, Sergei Semak withdrew from the game according to the 4-4-2 scheme, and secondly, Azmun left for Germany, stopping by seven goals in the current championship.
But the RPL scorers’ race may have a completely unexpected turn. It seems that CSKA’s newcomer Yusuf Yazydzhi is ready to become a competitor of Agalarov, Dzyuba, Smolov and Poloz. By signing the Turkish legionnaire, the army hoped for the attacking midfielder “Lille”, first of all, as an organizer of attacks and a master of standards, and Yazyji is forced to play ahead, in the position of “false nine”. And scores like some Lewandowski – six goals in four RPL matches! If the Turk maintains the same average performance, then in the remaining eight rounds he will score 12 goals and will probably finish first in the sniper competition. This is, of course, a perfect, slightly fantastic scenario. But a goal per game will be enough to catch up with Agalarov, if he suddenly stops scoring at all from the game and from the penalty spot.
Now Yazydzhi has unique statistics – he needs only 57 minutes to score in the RPL. This is an even more amazing figure than Magomed-Shapi Suleimanov had in the 2018/2019 season, when the Krasnodar winger scored steadily after the substitutions and made the whole of Russia talk about himself. Then Shapi took 68 minutes to score. Usually the strongest goal scorers of our championship hit someone else’s goal every 90-120 minutes. In the previous two seasons, Azmun had such figures.
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In general, winter forwards-newcomers of Russian teams are under attack. Wilson Isidore and Jan Kuchta from Lokomotiv scored five goals in two in three spring rounds of the RPL. And Yuri Alberto in the first seven matches for “Zenith” in the European Cups, Championship and Cup of Russia scored 4 + 2 on a “goal plus pass”. Vitaly Lisakovich shoots almost without a miss in “Ruby”, and Smolov – in “Dynamo”. On the one hand, this is evidence of a competent approach in selection, on the other – a reflection of the fact that the level of our championship continues to fall. The same Yazyji was able to excel only 16 times in 89 matches for Lille. Although it is not always the basis, it is impossible to deny that the gap between RPL and League 1 is growing.
However, while Yazydzhi and other bright legionnaires remain in Russia, we will enjoy their performance. Painful in the race of scorers after all for their own. Agalarov is still the favorite and, by the way, in terms of goals from the game (that is, without penalties) Ufa also leads.