Smashing sunny summer weather at Kadriorg for Levadia’s debut at home in the Champions League. Last year it was Bala Town, it was Europa League and Levadia won 3-1 thanks to an hattrick by Rimo Hunt, now in Kazakhstan.
This time was San Marino’s La Fiorita and it was the Champions League, accompanied by the traditional anthem saluting the sides entering the pitch. The result was 7-0 and it could not have been otherwise considering the gap shown over the 180’ between a professional side and a semi-amateur one.
Levadia do not suffer a goal since the 5th of April 2014 (Levadia-Flora 1-1) and Śmiśko personal record rose to 1,556.
In Europe, Kristal side set the record for the largest win of an Estonian club consolidating their leading role of 'European club' in the country.
Levadia progress to the second qualifying round where they will meet Sparta Prague, the Czech Champions that slipped the title away from Viktoria Plzen’s hands. It will be a much harder challenge for Kristal’s XI.
Levadia started immediately to put pressure and earned a corner on first minute as a cross from the left flank was cleared over the bottom line. On the developments another corner was earned. Subbotin committed foul in the box granting La Fiorita their first set-piece.
Nice set-up by Teever on 4’ minutes, chesting a ball down and serving Kulinits. The left full-back positioned as flanker aimed at Montanari who safely caught the shot from distance.
One minute later there was another chance from the left flank as another cross was sent in the box but Teever header attempt was late.
Not even five minutes of play and Levadia could already count three serious attempts at Montanari’s goal.
On 5’ minutes Selva was caught in offside when Confalone tried to set him up on a one-to-one with Śmiśko. The box was very far and the defense guided by Artjunin managed to move on time to cut off the San Marino international.
It was just a matter of time for Levadia to score a goal.
Contrary to the game in San Marino, this time the opener came much earlier as Kulinitś second attempt on target this time was well off Montanari range, hitting the lower part of the bar and consequently the back of the net. 1-0 and it was only after six minutes since kick-off whistle.
La Fiorita coach, Alberto Manca presented the same 4-1-4-1 formation seen in San Marino with veteran Confalone in front of the defence and Ceci and Rinaldi supporting Selva from the left and the right flank.
Marko Kristal had to move Subbotin up front with Teever due to Ivanov unavailability and moved Kulinits on the midfield line as right flanker in front of Podholjuzin. Notwithstanding the line-up changes, the formation was still on the traditional 4-4-2 with continuos overlapping on the flanks and flankers pushed on the strikers line in a 4-2-4 (2-4-4)
After the goal Levadia slowed the rhythm a bit down considering that La Fiorita had to score two goals to pass the leg and with Śmiśko pushing forward his personal record (1,526 minutes without suffering a goal before the kick-off) it looked unlikely for the Sammarinese side to pose any threat. Levadia tried to increase the score with two headers: first Subbotin (17’, attempt wide of the post) and Teever (18’, over the bar), both set-up from the left flank where Tamm and Pikk produced most of the dangers throughout all the first twenty minutes of play.
Notwithstanding the comfortable result, Marko Kristal could not really enjoy the game from the bench as he didn’t miss to show disappointment when his side made some venial mistake in the build-up phase. Not to mention when Teever (22’) missed the 2-0 with the open goal once he was set up by Ilja Antonov in the box: the 40-year-old gaffer was literal hands in hair.
On 24’ minutes Montanari showed why he earned the gallons of MOTM back in San Marino last week as he caught a poisonous shot by the usual Subbotin.
It was just the prelude to Subbotin 2-0 on 30’ when his diving header was precise past Montanari. The cross was sent in surgically by Kulinits, a constant thorn on La Fiorita left side.
Teever tried the same three minutes later with no success though.
On 37’ minutes it was Heiko Tamm to squander a chance on open goal. Levadia could have already led 4-0 before forty minutes of play without anyone having nothing to object.
On 39’ minutes, the Luxembourg referee, Chris Reisch, assigned a penalty for handball by Angeletti. The La Fiorita left full-back was quite unlucky as the ball bumped into his arm. However, Subbotin take was off the bar leaving the score on 2-0 for the home team.
On 42’ minutes La Fiorita had a proud attempt off target from set-piece taken by Selva. It was enough for Śmiśko to control the curled ball going past the first post.
It was the last emotion of the first half as Reisch called the half-time whistle for a drink after one minute of injury time and a yellow card shown to Rinaldi challenging Pikk from behind.
In second half Marko Kristal brought Omar El-Hussieny back into the XI replacing Heiko Tamm on the left flank.
And it was a lucky change as Omar tapped in with his studs the 3-0 behind Montanari on Kulinitś cross (47’). It was just the obvious consequence of the many chances Levadia produced in first half. On a personal level, a prize for El-Hussieny, sidelined by a calf injury for a long time.
On 58’ minutes Confalone almost made history for La Fiorita hitting the second post past Śmiśko. The Ukrainian giant’s record swayed.
After that Levadia resumed the control of the game and other chances came, with Montanari looking at the mercy of the Levadia front line.
On 67' minutes Montanari earned the accolade of the Kadriorg Park Stadium when he parried a well-aimed set-piece taken by Artjunin.
On 72' minutes Subbotin scored the 4-0 with his personal brace and Artjunin make it five with El-Hussieny setting him up. There was also time for Toni Tipuric, the new signing in defence, to score the 6-0 with a header from close distance and Artjunin to socre his brace (7-0)
Levadia managed to score all the goals they missed in San Marino and Kristal could finally relax on the bench.
La Fiorita can return to their summer preparation during which they will take on Serie A side Fiorentina.
FC LEVADIA vs. SP LA FIORITA 7-0 (2-0)
7’ Aleksandr Kulinitš, 30’ Igor Subbotin, 48’ Omar El Hussieny, 72’ Igor Subbotin, , 75’ Artjom Artjunin, 85’ Toni Tipurić, 90’+2 Artjom Artjunin
Yellow cards: 45’+1 Danilo Ezequiel Rinaldi, 61’ Gian Luca Bollini (FIO) 76’ Ilja Antonov (LEV) 80’ Andy Selva, 86’ Alberto Mazzola (FIO)
FC Levadia (4-4-2): Roman Smiško, Artur Pikk, Artjom Artjunin, Toni Tipurić, Maksim Podholjuzin, Heiko Tamm (46’ Omar El Hussieny), Dragomir Vukobratović (60’ Marek Kaljumäe), Ilja Antonov, Igor Subbotin, Ingemar Teever (71’ Pavel Marin).
SP La Fiorita (4-1-4-1): Simone Montanari, Marco Angeletti, Gian Luca Bollini, Davide Bugli, Gian Luca Bollini (75’ Matteo Scarponi), Alberto Mazzola, Alessio Cangini (55’ Nicola Cavalli), Danilo Ezequiel Rinaldi, Filippo Pensalfini, Simone Confalone, Francesco Ceci (64’ Lorenzo Forcellini), Andy Selva.
Head referee: Chris Reisch
Assistants: Marco Tropeano ja Christian Richartz
Fourth official: Alex Krueger (all from LUX)