19.06.2020 22:06 h

Quarantined Rostov field all-teenage team and lose 10-1 as Russian league resumes

Not everyone returned as the Russian league resumed on Friday and Sochi made the most of Rostov's coronavirus problems as they thrashed a team of teenagers 10-1.

Rostov, fourth in the table, had tried to get the game postponed after six players tested positive for COVID-19 and their first-team squad was quarantined.

But hosts Sochi pushed for the fixture to go ahead as they seek vital points to boost their battle against relegation.

None of the Rostov squad had played at the highest level, the oldest in the 18-man squad was just 19, there were two 16 year-olds, 12 were 17 and three 18.

"We were weaker than our opponents only in terms of our physical characteristics," said 17-year-old Roman Romanov, who gave Rostov a first-minute lead, told Match TV.

Russian international striker Aleksandr Kokorin scored a hat-trick for Sochi.

On Thursday, the Russian Football Federation offered to postpone the match until July 19, but this required the agreement of both clubs, and struggling Sochi declined.

Sochi issued a statement only hours before the 1700GMT kick-off, declaring the match on.

"Rostov and Sochi have agreed to stage the game, the 23rd round of the first division. The match is going ahead!"

But a petition organised by Rostov's main sponsor urged Sochi to show "solidarity".

"Let's remind ourselves of the values this sport teaches us. A dignified fight, honest competition, respect for our adversary..." the petition signed by more than 1,000 people said.

The row clouded the league's restart after its three-month hiatus.

Grozny climbed off the bottom of the table by winning 4-2 at Krylia Sovetov, who slid into last place.