- Kalju lose second game in succession
- Inability to create chances costs leaders
- Infonet full value for their win, earned by a deflected Kalimullin free kick
By Chris Johns
FC Infonet condemned Nomme Kalju to their second defeat in a row as a deflected Andrei Kalimullin free kick gave them a deserved victory. The visitors struggled to create chances throughout the match, and may be regretting their decision to leave key players on the bench.
Infonet were unchanged from their 2-0 win over Parnu last time out. Vladislav Kozlovs moved in to the lone striker position, with Ermal Hajdari going out on to the left wing. Tanel Melts began on the right wing, with Aidara and Nikolay Mashichev lining up in the centre of midfield.
Kalju made five changes from their first defeat of the season at Narva Trans. Dropping out of attack were Joel Lindpere and Andre Jarva, who were replaced by Aleksandr Dmitrijev and Erik Listmann. Hidetoshi Wakui made way for Reginald, while Alo Barengrub and Ken Kallaste replaced Henrik Purg and Nicolas Galpin.
The opening to the match was fairly low key, with neither side really breaking the mould of their formation. Listmann got away down the right in the 4th minute, but his ball in to the centre couldn’t be controlled sufficiently by Neemelo. Listmann was then left floored after a coming-together with Trevor Elhi, a minute later, but the Kalku attacker was able to continue after a brief spell on the floor.
Ken Kallaste received a throw in on the left in the 7th minute, and he charged his way in to the Infonet box before seeing his cut back from the by-line blocked by Lavrentjev.
Infonet were trying to be a little more direct than their counterparts, as Kozlovs was the target with a number of balls over the Kalju defence. The visitors were trying to be their tidy selves, opting to keep the ball where possible and not being rushed into distributing it forward.
In the 12th minute Jorge Rodrigues could only strike a Karl Mool corner wide of the near post when under pressure, as clear chances remained few and far between.
Volodin managed to break away down the right in the 16th minute, but Hajdari was unable to control the low ball in. Kozlovs was then given the honour of being the first man in to the referee’s book after hacking down Karl Mool
Ken Kallaste headed over Eino Puri’s corner on 18 minutes, before Listmann cut inside from the right and unleashed a low left-footed shot that Lavrentjev held with ease.
Mashichev managed to outpace Rodrigues on the right a minute later, but he was unable to find Kozlovs in the centre as half chances continued to come and go for both sides.
Kimabloula and Listmann switched sides midway through the first half as the former was struggling to make any impact on the game, before Infonet threatened to light the game up with a couple of good chances.
The first saw Hajdari head disappointingly wife of the far post after peeling away from Alo Barengrub to meet Melts’ right-wing cross. Kalimullin then blasted over on the turn from six yards after the ball fell to him following a mini game of head tennis in the Kalju box. Kozlovs then hit a low left-footed shot wide of Teles’ right post after a good first touch bought him some space on the edge of the box.
At the other end, Kalimullin had to be on hand to touch Mool’s cross away from the head of Allan, who was lurking in the centre. Kalju needed to respond to the pressure Infonet were starting to apply, but they couldn’t make the most of some of the promising free kicks they earned during the first period.
Despite being a lone striker, Kozlovs was causing all manner of problems for Barengrub and Rodrigues, finding space in the middle with ease to receive long balls floated up to him. Kalju’s lone striker Neemelo was having no such luck, with service being minimal to the big Estonian international.
The visitors were in danger of suffering in the same way they did in a number of games last season; their isolated front man was getting no real service from the wings, and support was not forthcoming from behind him.
In the 43rd minute, Puri’s deep diagonal cross from the right found Listmann at the back post, but his header was straight at Lavrentjev to sum up Kalju’s attacking frustrations in the first half.
Infonet’s attacking threat had subdued a little, but their positive movement going forward looked more likely to break the deadlock as the referee blew for half time.
Kalju made no changes at the break, but Deniss Malov came on for Tanel Melts for Infonet.
The second half began at a good tempo, with both sides seeming keen to attack. Dmitrijev hit a shot wide from outside the box on 50 minutes, before Vitali Teles had to be alert to tip Trevor Elhi’s 25-yard drive just round the post after the Infonet full back had charged powerfully down the middle of the pitch.
Kalju were still struggling to create chances, but that was a testament to Infonet’s pressing and energy when out of possession. The hosts still also looked the more likely to score.
Kalju made their first change on the hour mark, with Joel Lindpere coming on for Dmitrijev to try to inject some creative spark in to the centre of the pitch. Infonet also made a change as Jevgeni Harin replaced Ermal Hajdari.
A mini spell of pressure in the Kalju box followed for Infonet, before Listmann was shown a yellow card for a poor late tackle on the breaking Elhi.
Kalju tried their second roll of the dice on 68 minutes as Japanese playmaker Hidetoshi Wakui took the place of Karl Mool, with Eino Puri shifting to right back.
Lindpere almost set up the newly-introduced Wakui in the 71st minute as he took the ball inside from the right, before feeding the Japanese on the edge of the box, but he was unable to muster more than a weak shot across goal under pressure from the Infonet defence.
Lindpere’s introduction had certainly put some spark in to Kalju’s attack, but neither side looked like they were going to carve up a chance good enough to break the deadlock.
Jorge Rodrigues went into the book on 76 minutes for a foul on Elhi, and it was from the resulting free kick that the deadlock was indeed finally broken. Kalimullin turned away with the ball after being teed up, and his shot from 25 yards was heavily deflected, fooling Teles before bouncing in to the back of the net.
Kalju felt aggrieved that the deflection was not given as handball, and Eino Puri was booked in the protests, but Infonet’s lead stood and they had probably edged the game enough to deserve it.
With ten minutes to go, Ats Purje replaced Alo Barengrub as Kalju had to throw everything they had at the game.
Kozlovs curled a shot over the bar six minutes from time as Kalju became ragged in defence, leaving gaps for the hosts to exploit on the break. Kalju were still struggling to create any openings, and their frustrations were evident.
Infonet replaced Mashichev with Semkakhin in injury time, as Kalju failed to make the most of both a free kick and corner situation, both themes that ran throughout the match.
Malov received a late yellow card before the referee brought the match to an end, condemning Kalju to a second defeat in succession.
The hosts were good value for their win, playing with energy and positivity. Kalju were disappointing once again, and their inability to create chances was a testament to the performance of their opponents as much as their own shortcomings.
RdS Man of the Match: Vladislav Kozlovs