Monday 23 October 2017

FC Rostov's pitch ban comes a week after Manchester United had to play on the dreadful surface

By Max McLean

Should a ball bounce like that?

The good news is that the Russian Premier League has banned Rostov from hosting league football on their ill-prepared pitch, the bad news is Manchester United have already played on it.

The Olimp-2 stadium’s pitch is in pretty bad condition, but despite United’s concerns, Uefa allowed their Europa League last-16 game to be played – the Russian Premier League have a different view, however.

Jose Mourinho asked for the tie to be cancelled, and it’s not hard to see why – check out the bounce.

Patchy stuff.

United managed a 1-1 draw on the difficult surface, picking up a valuable away goal – and will surely relish the chance to play on the luscious and even turf of Old Trafford in the return leg.

And while the decision to prevent further league games from taking place on the pitch seems like the right one, it’s a bit late for United.

It’s worth noting that the decision, even if it had come a week or two earlier, would not have prevented United’s game from going ahead – the ban extends only to league games.

It does however point to the fact that Mourinho was probably right to ask for the game to be cancelled – Rostov have until March 24 to get the pitch in better condition.

Mourinho’s team will feel a lot more comfortable at home, no doubt.

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