Report: FC Akhmat Grozny 1 Blues 0

It was good work out for Blues, who looked strong and fit, against a side well into their pre-season.


Blues began their pre-season campaign in Austria with a stern test against Russian Premier League side FC Akhmat Grozny at the SK Jenbach Donau Arena.

On a warm summer evening in the shadow of the Tyrol Alpine mountains, a hardy bunch of some 80 or so Blues fans travelled over to see Garry Monk's side lose by a solitary early goal.

But as Blues boss Monk had stated previously, pre-season fixtures are very much about fitness and trying out tactics rather than results.

Blues found themselves a goal behind less than three minutes in after conceding a penalty when Odie Roshi was brought down by Blues goalkeeper Connal Trueman after getting in behind the defence.

The referee signalled for a goal kick and ignored the penalty claim initially until his assistant flagged and then pointed to the spot and Rodolfo Bispo stepped up and sent Trueman the wrong way.

Having suffered an early set-back, Blues began to increase in confidence and started knocking the ball around with a fair amount of confidence.

But their increasing possession the middle areas of the pitch wasn't being converted into attacking opportunities in the final third.

Viv Solomon-Otabor had a blast at goal from a tight angle that was blocked and following a burst by the winger and Wes Harding, the ball just went over the byline as he tried to set up forwards Lukas Jutkiewicz or Beryly Lubala.

Blues were given a scare just after the half-hour mark when Ismael Silva fired in a corner, but Bispo flashed a headed effort just wide of Trueman's far post.

Harlee Dean was responsible for winning Blues' first corner of the game after 42 minutes.

Gardner's initial delivery was cleared and Josh Dacres-Cogley's follow-up effort for the Akhmat goalkeeper Vitaly Gudiev to backpedal anxiously to stop it drifting in under his crossbar.

With half-time rapidly approaching there was a break in play following a melee out on the pitch, following a late tackle on Gardner.

Akmat's coach, his backroom staff and substitutes decided to get involved and then were was a disturbance in the crowd as Akhma's support staff and officials incredibly confronted Blues fans. At that point the referee took the teams off the field and ended the first-half a minute early.

Half-time: FC Akhmat Grozny 1 Blues 0

Blues started brightly after the restart and went close when Harding curled the ball into the far post where it was brought down by Jutkiewicz, who got a shot off from close range but saw it blocked.

Jacques Maghoma then tried his luck from just outside the area, but his effort flew well over the bar, and Lubala glanced a Michael Morrison header back into the box wide.

Just before the hour-mark Trueman prevented what would have been a certain goal when he denied Doumba's shot on the line with his feet.

Moments later Gardner came close for Blues with a powerful low shot which took a deflection and went inches past the post.

After 60 minutes Monk elected to change all 10 of his outfield players to give his full squad some valuable game time.

The changed side soon got into their stride and were not far off levelling the scores when Jota linked up with Odin Bailey who unleashing a shot which was just a little too high and wide.

Kyle McFarlane then intercepted the ball in midfield before sliding it through towards the goal, but Che Adams was just beaten to it by the goalkeeper.

Maxime Colin did well to pull the ball back for Jota, who slid in and connected on the full, but the goalkeeper was right behind its path.

With six minutes of normal time remaining Kristian Pedersen - who made a promising debut - was issued with a yellow card for a foul right on the edge of his own area, but the resultant free-kick was driven straight at the Blues defensive wall.

Two minutes later Trueman was forced into action as he pulled off another excellent save to deny Ablaye Mbeng from close range with his feet.

Full-time: FC Akhmat Grozny 1 Blues 0

Blues (4-4-2) first 60 minutes: Connal Trueman, Wes Harding, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Harlee Dean, Michael Morrison, Maikel Kieftenbeld, Jacques Maghoma, Craig Gardner, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Beryly Lubala, Viv Solomon-Otabor.

Blues (4-4-2) last 30 minutes: Connal Trueman, Kristian Pedersen, Remeao Hutton, Marc Roberts, Maxime Colin, Kyle McFarlane, Charlie Lakin, Corey O'Keeffe, Jota, Che Adams, Odin Bailey.

Goals: None.

Bookings: Pedersen (84)

FC Akhmat Grozny from: Vitaly Gudiev, Rizvan Utsiev, Rodolpho Bispo, Angel Wilker, Magomed MussalovBernard Berisha, Odise Roshi, Anton Shvets, Ismael Silva, Idrissa Doumbia, Zaur Sadaev. Evgeny Gorodov, Alexander Shepliakov, Zaurbeck Pliev, Milad Mohammadi, Khalid Kadyrov, Oleg Uvanov, Mikhail Gashenkov, Vladimir Khubulov, Ravanelli, Ferreira, Ayub Vatcuev, Magomed Mitrishev, Abubakar Kadryov, Idris Umaev, Bekin Balay, Ablaye Mbeng.

Goal: Vispo (3)

Bookings: None.