Yuri Mikhailovich Kovtun (Russian: Юрий Михайлович Ковтун) (born 5 January 1970 in Azov) is a retired Russian football defender, well known as 90's Russia national football team player, as well as Dynamo Moscow and Spartak Moscow stopper. He is currently an assistant coach with FC Volga Nizhny Novgorod.
- 2 International career
- 3 Strong and weak sides
- 4 Current activity
- 5 Honours
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Kovtun's career started in minor Russian club Luch Azov in 1988. Then he proceed his career as professional player in FC SKA Rostov-na-Donu and FC Rostselmash Rostov-on-Don. In 1992, Rostselmash and Kovtun starred in first Russian championship where they unexpectedly promoted to 8th place. Kovtun was impressive during the season so two top teams were interested in him at the same time, it's Dynamo and Spartak Moscow. In 1993, Kovtun chose Dynamo Moscow and was their key player for years, until his move to Spartak in 1999.
While the only Kovtun's honour during 6 years in Dynamo was Russian Cup in 1995, he could get 3 titles in 1999, 2000 and 2001 after joining Spartak. Moreover, he took part in numerous UEFA Champions League games and found himself regular Russian national football team player.
Kovtun played for Russian international team 50 times, scoring 2 goals. Most notable moments of his international career were long shot goal toYugoslavia during 2002 World Cup qualifier and own goal in 0–1 away loss to Iceland Euro 2000 qualifying. He was a part of Russian squad in the Euro 96and World Cup 2002 finals. Kovtun was sent off in Euro 96 for a lunge at Germany's Dieter Eilts.
Kovtun's strong points as a defender always was great tackling, tight marking of opponents and making own goals in the crutial matches. The main weakness of his game throughout his career was a lack of pace and acceleration. Another drawback from the lack of speed was that he often had to play too dirty so he could easily gain yellow card or even being sent off (he holds Russian record for amount of bookings).
During 2005, Spartak's veteran couldn't gain first team place and most of the season played for reserves. In January 2006 he left Spartak Moscow for just relegated into Russian First Division Alania Vladikavkaz. He retired in 2007 and became a manager for FC MVD Rossii Moscow. FC MVD advanced toRussian First Division under his supervision.