LIVE STREAM: Moscow Spartans, Nizhy Novogorod Raiders are two unexpected names in the Russian semifinals

The second round of playoffs in Russia produced two very unexpected results, when the Moscow Spartans held on to a victory over the St. Petersburg Griffins (when their go-ahead Hail Mary pass was called back because of a penalty), and the Nizhny Novgorod Raiders 52 beat the heavily favored Podolsk Knights in a double-overtime thriller. Now after a month-long break for the EC qualification tournament, the League of American Football competition resumes with both of these teams pitted against even tougher opponents at the semifinal stage.

Moscow Patriots vs Nizhny Novgorod Raiders 52

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The biggest question for the Moscow side will be the shape in which they approach the matchup: having sent 19 players to the Russian national team for the unsuccessful EC qualification campaign, they might have a lot of their leaders tired and worn out. On the other hand, the EC tournament might have given them extra motivation and drive.

As for the Raiders 52, they will be healthy and well-rested, but on paper – lack the talent to match up against the Patriots across the board. Nevertheless, they already won a game against the heavy favorites in the last round, and will now not be taken lightly by anyone.

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 24 1 PM (6 AM EDT)

Minsk Litwins vs Moscow Spartans

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The team from Belarus also appears to be in the top shape coming into this game, as the nation hasn’t fielded a national squad in the current EC cycle. In addition, the home team advantage might also play into their hands, as they are still to lose a game in Minsk this season.

On the other hand, the Spartans have proven themselves to be the ultimate road warriors this season, having already traveled for several thousand kilometers in the playoffs alone. In addition to that, a victory over the title holders in St. Petersburg that they have striven for so long has no doubt raised their spirits and gave a lot to look forward to.

Link to livestream.

Ilya Kravtsov
After being involved in bringing American football to his hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia, Ilya would go on to play in the Japanese X-League, helping his side Tokyo Bullseyes advance all the way to the top tier of the league and become the only non-corporate team in X-1. He's currently the defensive coordinator of St. Petersburg Griffins, as well as the head coach of St. Petersburg Valkyries.
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