Rumori di Spogliatoio

UCL: FC Levadia vs. Crusaders FC (NIR) 1-1, match report and gallery

Angelo PalmeriComment

This match report for is by Barry Ross Linton, commonly known as 'Baz'. Baz is a graphic designer (you can find his works and portfolio here at 'Barry Linton Design'). From London, he is a big football passionate and a great fan of West Ham United. Baz is a proud member and player of Rumori Calcio having debuted in an official game of Estonian football  last weekend (Estonian Cup 1/64) .

All the pictures in this article are by Angelo Palmeri


LEVADIA vs. CRUSADERS 1-1 (1-1)

LEVADIA:
 30.Pikker, 3.Rakhmanov, 4.Laitinen, 5.Elhussieny (Subbotin 88), 11.Teever (C), 17. Luts, 18. Kruglov, 22. Pikk, 29. Rähn, 38 Pecha (Saag 72)
Subs: 12.Shirokov, 2.Ojamaa, 10.Subbotin, 19.Peetson, 20.Martin, 23.Artjunin, 25.Saag
Goals: Luts 22 
Bookings: Antonov

CRUSADERS: 1.O’Neill (C), 2.Joe Burns, 5.Magowan, 11.Robinson, 12.Caddell (Clarke 79), 14.Forsythe, 17.McClean, 18.Owens (O’Flynn 70), 22.Heatley, 25.Carvill (O’Carroll 90+3), 27.Mitchell
Subs: 21.McKibbin, 3.Stewart, 10.O’Carroll, 15.O’Flynn, 19.Snoddy, 20.Clarke, 24.O’Hanlon
Bookings Robinson, Carvill
Goals: Carvill 4

A cold, miserable and wet summers evening in Tallinn summed up Levadia’s game as they narrowly missed out on an away goal.

Generally in Tallinn when you see a pack of 11 British guys all wearing the same t-shirts, their names proudly printed on the back, running around like animals, you fear the worst. Fortunately, these Brits were sober. Crusaders came into this game with the advantage of knowing they had the away goal rule in their favour.

They had a perfect start with an early goal after 4 minutes.

A cheeky ball over the top of the Levadia defence found Carvill to smash home at close range. This was the worst possible start for the home team. 

The pressure was on.

It's an early lead for the 'Hatchet Men' celebrating the opener (RdS)

It's an early lead for the 'Hatchet Men' celebrating the opener (RdS)

The travelling Crusaders fans were in good voice and certainly did not need require a drum to make their presence known. Familiar melodies of a Yellow Submarine and Elvis Presley's - Can't Help Falling In Love were well delivered.

Although, I’m sure one or two beers before hand helped lubricate their vocal chords. The Levadia fans with a more tribal, simple approach as equally effective.

Teever headed Levadia’s first effort over the bar on 15 minutes and despite the goal, the teams were looking well matched.

On 21 minutes, Carvill went from hero to zero, committing a cynical foul on Pikk just outside of Crusaders penalty box and received a deserved booking.

Luts stepped up and delivered what can only be described as world class. From 25 yards, he put the ball in the top left-hand corner. This was as good a free kick as you will see all season.The power and accuracy too much for O’Neill (GALLERY: the photo sequence of Luts' goal)

Luts' beauty from set-piece sends O'Neill crashing against the post (RdS)

Luts' beauty from set-piece sends O'Neill crashing against the post (RdS)

This was the stand out moment of an otherwise ugly first half of football. Levadia did enjoy some success with Luts delivering some fine balls in from the left but their play was direct to say the least. Teever was holding the ball up and leading the line well, but things had become predictable.

I had to glance down to the dug-out just to check that it was not Sam Allardyce chewing the gum, haunting me.

To help put some context on the game, the rain was pouring heavy during the first half making life difficult for either team to find their passing game.

Despite the Crusaders at times looking as organised as a stag party they tested Levadia’s uncomfortable looking defence who at times came across as nervous.  

There were some strong challenges from Levadia but I thought a group of lads from Northern Ireland would have been made of sterner stuff. There were at times some oscar winning falls and screams from Crusaders, backed up by an equally dramatic bench.

Not a quality you would normally associate from a British team. Two penalty calls from Crusaders were never taken seriously by the Georgian referee who had a steady game. 

Slovak Ivan Pecha (left) and Crusaders' coach, Stephen Baxter, had a vivacious exchange of views at half-time (RdS)

Slovak Ivan Pecha (left) and Crusaders' coach, Stephen Baxter, had a vivacious exchange of views at half-time (RdS)

The pre-season campaign has only just started for Crusaders and this was evident as they struggled to match Levadiia, their players stretching at every opportunity and collapsing far too often.  

Despite this obvious advantage, Levadia failed to capitalise on this.

The home team certainly improved their football in the 2nd half and tried to play the ball on the floor with purpose. Luts and Teever continued to combine well but O’Neill was not really troubled enough. Saag who was introduced on 72 minutes replacing Pecha, succeeding with a couple of shots on target but, unfortunately, the cutting edge was still missing.

Crusaders hit the crossbar on a counter-attack on 86 minutes following a great effort from Heatley. Another ball over the top reminiscent of their first goal caught the Levadia defence flat footed but this was a rare moment flare for another uneventful 2nd half.

1-1 was about right for me.

Teever, the captain, lead the line well despite Levadia just lacking that finishing touch. Tonight it was Luts who caught my eye with some fine balls in the box and a world class free kick, he was my MOTM.

Thank you to Levadia and Crusaders, it was by no means a classic but the work rate was there from both teams tonight. Good luck in the next round Crusaders.

GALLERY: Crusaders fans and players celebrating historical moment