- a draw at the A. Le Coq Arena from which benefitted only Kalju Nõmme
- it will take time for Subbotin, Artjunin and Kink to get back to competitive form
- the title race will be long and tough for the top 3 teams
Matchday 20 brought us the Tallinn „Clasico“ between Flora and Levadia. It was a sunny Monday evening and the pitch at the national arena was in excellent condition as the players were making their way out. It was a match with high stakes as the top 3 teams were separated by only 2 points and the winner from this match would stay on top at least until the next round. The sunny weather and the high expectations meant more spectators who supported both teams.
The match started with both of the teams trying to establish control in midfield, but neither succeeding in that. The home team had a very mild initiative, but their attacks were stopped before entering the final third. After the initial 10-15 minutes the team of FC Levadia slowly managed to push the hosts higher and put pressure on them. The biggest danger was coming from the left side where Luts, and often Omar attempted to cause damage to Flora’s defensive line. In the 20th minute Teever found himself in a very good position, but Toom with a good save stopped the robust attacker from scoring. In the follow-up corner from Luts, Peetson found an empty space but his header went just wide. In the 28th minute referee Saar penalised Gussev for simulation giving him yellow card and free kick for Levadia. The ball sent in the box wasn’t cleared properly by Baranov after which Rakhmanov tapped it behind Toom’s back for 1-0 for the reigning champions. In the following minutes Flora tried to bring possession back, but it was Levadia who looked more dangerous and continued their attacks. In the 36th minute the away team claimed penalty after Teever was brought down in the box, but referee Saar just waved off their protests. Until the end of the first half the goalkeepers didn’t have any serious shots to deal with.
At the beginning of the second half coach Hurt introduced Prosa instead of Alliku who suffered an injury and wasn’t able to continue. Already in the 46th minute after a long ball forward Prosa managed to escape the defensive line but Artjunin reached and tackled him from behind and for referee Saar it was a straight red card which meant full second half with a player less for Levadia. In those moments Hurt pulled the other attacker from the bench, Joonas Tamm and Flora went forward in full power. In the 60th minute their pressure paid off after Frolov’s corner when Pareiko didn’t react well and Kruglov scored an unfortunate own goal heading the ball in his Pareiko’s net. In the 62nd minute in a rare excursion in Flora’s half in that period, Luts tried his luck from 20 meters but his shot went just wide. The home team continued to push but with the introduction of Taavi Rähn, Levadia’s defense remained solid and did not allow Gussev, Logua and Sappinen to create a goal threatening chance. As time was passing it became obvious that none of the teams would risk losing a point instead of getting three. In the 82nd minute Logua sent a powerful shot towards Pareiko’s goal but hit the net from the outside. When everyone thought it was over, first Beglarashvili tried his luck with a shot over the bar and then Toom made a nice save to keep the result the same. At the end of the added 4 minutes Eiko Saar blew the whistle and Flora and Levadia shared the points which allowed Nõmme Kalju once again to climb to the top of the table one point ahead of Flora.
RdS MOTM: Siim Luts