And so it came to pass – Krasnodar 1 Krilya Sovietov 2. Or maybe I’m wrong – it wasn’t a fix at all.
Maybe the game was played at such a slow tempo solely because of the heat. Maybe the Krasnodar strikers are always so bad in front of goal that they look like they’re going for a conversion in a rugby match. Maybe it was an honest mistake when Krasnodar’s goalie seemed to let the ball slip through his hands for the first goal. Maybe the gap he left on his near post for the second was lack of knowledge of the basics. And maybe the consolation goal, where Krilya Sovietov’s keeper parries the ball right into the path of a Krasnodar striker, was down to tiredness – it happened in the 94th minute (when the result was beyond doubt; a cynic might say this goal made the result look a little more realistic).
Judge for yourself; the goals are here. The commentators make reference to suspicious betting patterns, suggest that Krasnodar’s keeper Usminskiy should go before the match fixing committee, and suggest that conclusions need to be drawn by the authorities.
The same goes for me – but I don’t expect anything to change as a result…
Saul Pope is the author of ‘New Holland’, a mystery novel set in Russia and published by Espresso Books. He also writes for the football magazine ‘When Saturday Comes’.