A UEFA Women's Champions League round of 16 tie against Olympique Lyonnais was always going to be a tough test for FK Zorkiy Krasnogorsk.
However, not even the Russian outfit, who are making their competition debut, could have expected to lose the first leg 9-0 at home to the reigning champions. Barring what would be perhaps the greatest upset of all time, Vladimir Vvedenski's team are heading out of the tournament at Stade de Gerland on Wednesday. There are nevertheless plenty of positives the club can look back on, while the players can learn from their experience.
"It is a great lesson for us to play against such good opponents like Lyon," forward Ekaterina Sochneva told UEFA.com. "When you come up against teams like this you understand that you have to keep working hard in training in order to improve."
Zorkiy's main aim will be to avoid a similar result when they play the return leg. But not all is lost for women's football in Russia, as FC Rossiyanka have a good chance of making the quarter-finals following a 1-0 victory at AC Sparta Praha in the first leg. Furthermore, the national team have secured a place in Friday's UEFA Women's EURO 2013 draw.
Elena Medved has been a key component of Zorkiy's and Russia's defence this season and she is delighted that the game is continuing to develop in her country.
"It's good that women's football in Russia is not standing still and is improving," Zorkiy captain Medved said. "We are moving forward and I really hope that we will put in a good performance at UEFA Women's EURO next year in Sweden."
Raising the profile of women's football in Russia has been a significant problem for the last couple of decades. However, Medved believes this is changing.
"The fact that we qualified for the EUROs is significant as this will help more people to become interested in our sport," the 27 year-old said. "We will continue to rise in the rankings while there will be more TV coverage of our games, which can only be a good thing."
There are very few Russian players plying their trade abroad and this is something Medved would like to change over the next few years to help improve the standard of the game in Russia. While the country still has a long way to go to catch the likes of France, Germany and Sweden, both domestically and at national team level, significant progress is being made.
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