· FC Infonet did not probably deserve to lose, however they did not do enough to win (or pull level).
· Questionable performance by the referee Andrei Karhu who influenced the game with a couple of dubious decisions
· Flora tops the table awaiting for the remainder of week 2 program
Very few changes on both sides compared to last week as both Hurt and Pushtov keep basically the same starting XI seen against Viljandi and Levadia. The only exceptions, Nicolay Mashichev replacing Eduard Golovljov for the hosts and Karl-Erik Luigend coming back from suspension in front of the defence where he replaces German Ślein for the visitors.
Dry and cold evening in Sportland Arena which, for this game, features as FC Infonet home ground (they will move to Lasnamäe Athletics complex in May).
Similarly to the game against FC Levadia, Infonet are keen in starting with waiting for FC Flora in their half being ready to kick start quick counters.
The first ten minutes of the game go unnoticed, as both sides are not able to produce anything considerable at each target.
On 13’ minutes the very first rough challenge of the game is, needless to say, by Deniss Malov who pulls down Joseph Saliste. The tackle was probably worth a yellow card, but referee Andrei Karhu is lenient.
With the middle of the park congested, Infonet try to use the flanks, especially the left one, however Kams and Saliste are for now managing to stop Elhi’s keen attempts.
On 18’ minutes a moviola episode (click picture on the right to enlarge).
A cross is sent in the box with several players missing to grab hold of the ball which spurts in the middle where Logua touches with the elbow directing it towards Mait Toom. Kahru opts for the involuntary touch and hints at play on. Pushtov does not really agree on the touchline. The impression is the hand deflection helps the ball to reach Flora's goalkeeper.
Quite incredibly the public broadcaster opts not to show the penalty situation in the game interval, questionable decision.
You can watch it again from the game full-lenght video here (minute of the player 26:45)
Following the penalty situation, FC Infonet takes hold of the game and on 23’ minutes they manage to produce the best chance of the match that far. Mashichev wins a ball in front of the Flora’s defence and, after resisting a challenge, produces a weird flipped shot towards Toom. The Flora goalie has to outdo himself to palm the ball over the bar.
However, how it often happens in football, if you don’t score, they score to you. That’s what happens four minutes later when Alliku launches a quick counter on the right, gets rid of Malov falling too early on a sliding tackle in the box and assists Rauno Sappinen for the opener. A slight deflection by Kalimullin helped the Flora nr.11 to get the ball precisely on his right foot.
Flora had not done much until that moment, however they managed to find themselves one goal ahead of the hosts.
On 29’ minutes Infonet try to react with Aidara aiming at Toom from considerable distance. The shot is slow and Flora’s nr.73 can kneel and collect the ball easily.
On 33’ minutes, Toom makes a miracle on Semakhin’s header from corner. A scrum follows with Infonet unable to push the ball past the line.
On 35’ minutes another good chance for Infonet, Volodin's cross from the right cuts off the entire defence, however Elhi does not manage to grab the ball. In the attempt, he almost passes onto the upcoming Dmitrjev, however Flora defence is quicker in clearing the box.
Most of Flora’s troubles come from the flanks as both Elhi and Mashichev have finally got better of their opponents and are creating a lot of interesting situations. Luigend is often compelled to double team and help each side handling the pressure.
At the end of first half Flora almost lose Markus Jürgenson for injury (shoulder) with Kevin Aloe ready to come on, however 'Max' gets immediately back to his workplace.
The end of first half comes after two minutes of injury time and says Flora lead however Infonet would not deserve to lose.
Ridiculous episode at the start of second half with Mashichev compelled to leave the pitch since his number and name had completely come off the jersey. Harin took his place after Infonet were left down to ten men for 8 minutes.
Right or not? If we consider that Darren Fletcher was let playing without a name and number on the back of his Man United jersey in Premier League in 2010, we believe Karhu could have been more lenient with an episode concerning Estonian Premium Liiga.
The game enters into a lull until 56’ minutes when Irakli Logua wakes everyone up at Sportland with a shot from distance after receiving the ball from a set-piece. The Russian winger gets rid of Melts, gets closer to the box and then release a left-footed shot that gives no chance to Lavrentjev outstretching himself with no avail. It's 2-0 for Flora and seems almost unexpected.
Flora try to kill the game but a couple of attempts from distance have no luck.
FC Infonet have been trying to get back into the game and, for this purpose, Pushtov brought the new signing, Ermal Hajdari in for defensive midfielder Tanel Melts (65’).
A good on-target chance for Volodin a couple of minutes later, however his right-footed attempt from set-piece is intercepted by Toom quite easily.
Infonet increase the pressure to try and pull one back in order to end the game with a total siege of Flora’s half. Obviously, the Beastie Boys let a lot of space to the white-greens for counters. Flora are now well organized in the back to hold Infonet pushing up front also with the contribution of Jüri Jevdokimov who replaced an exhausted Trevor Elhi.
Notwithstanding the generous attempt, FC Infonet do not manage to produce enough threat exception made for Malov’s late attempt from distance (90’).
After three minutes of injury time, Flora can nick three points and jump on top of the table waiting for the competitors to play on Saturday afternoon.
By Angelo Palmeri