Petri Matikainen became the first coaching casualty of the new season when his time behind the bench at Avangard was abruptly ended Tuesday. A 2-5 loss away to Barys Astana, following Sunday’s 0-6 drubbing at Ak Bars, was the final act for the Finn.
The club’s general manager, Yury Karmanov, issued a statement explaining Matikainen’s departure. “The level of play and the management of the team at the start of the season has not matched our requirements, so we’ve taken the decision to terminate the contract with the head coach. Evgeny Kornoukhov will fulfill that role. In the near future we will look at candidates for the new head coach. We’ve already spent some time in active discussion about this.”
Matikainen himself had earlier admitted that his team had “no stability in our game” when speaking to journalists after the game in Astana. He also mentioned that after conceding six goals in Kazan at the weekend the loss of a further goal just 22 seconds into the game with Barys further dented his men’s confidence. But his defiant claims that Avangard would find a way through its difficulties and return to form fell on deaf ears in the board room, and his departure from the club was confirmed soon afterwards.
In six games this season, Avangard had three wins and three defeats. But the defeats came with a combined score of 3-16, and the last two games saw the team concede 11 times despite Matikainen’s overhaul of the defense in the summer. By contrast the three victories came against struggling opposition, and the 4-3 win over Atlant and the shoot-out success against Severstal offered little to suggest the team was capable of challenging for honors this season.