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Russian Soccer Team Routed After Fielding Youth Players Due To Coronavirus

Russian international striker Aleksandr Kokorin scored a hat-trick for Sochi in the 10-1 drubbing. (file photo)

A team in Russia’s top soccer league has suffered a huge defeat after being forced to field youth players because their entire first team squad was in quarantine.

Rostov lost 10-1 to Sochi in the Black Sea resort on June 19 as the Russian Premier League resumed play after shutting down for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two days before the match, however, six players for Rostov tested positive for the coronavirus.

Russia has the third-highest number of infections in the world with more than half a million cases.

With all of Rostov's players and coaches self-isolating, the fourth-placed team had no professional players available for their first match back.

Sochi, which is battling relegation and desperate for points, rejected appeals to reschedule the game.

Sochi climbed from 12th to ninth in the 16-team league thanks to the rout.

Rostov's teen brigade grabbed the lead when Roman Romanov scored in the first minute, but were 4-1 down by halftime, and home side Sochi showed no mercy in the second half.

Rostov's 17-year-old goalkeeper Denis Popov was named man-of-the-match despite letting in 10 goals, making 15 saves including stopping a penalty. Sochi had a total of 41 shots compared to two for Rostov.

"We were weaker than our opponents only in terms of our physical characteristics," 17-year-old Romanov, the scorer of Rostov's lone goal, told Match TV.

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

On June 18, 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 kick-off, declaring the match on.

Based on reporting by Interfax, AFP, and Reuters
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