Goal show at the A. Le Coq Arena
Round XI of Premium Liiga brought us a new clash at the A. Le Coq Arena. This time the home team FC Flora faced the strugglers Tallinna Kalev. The rain was one of the main factors for the low attendance at only 176. However, it wasn’t an obstacle for a typical display by both teams. Let’s start from the very beginning.
Coach Norbert Hurt kept his rotation policy making few changes in his starting XI. Prins was back between the sticks, Rähn and Mets in central defense, Jürgenson and, surprisingly, Baranov who managed to recover from his injury took on the full-back positions. In central midfield we could see Luigend again teaming up with Frolov, Alliku was on his right wing, Logua on the left, Beglarishvili was deployed as attacking midfielder and we could see Martin Kase earning his first start of the season as a central forward.
On the other side, coach Zamogilnõi opted for a similar 4-2-3-1 formation with captain Savitski on the goal, Heintare and Aleksei Savitski in central defence, while Kukebal and Gavrilov were deployed on the full-back positions. In central midfield Rump and Välja got the nod, Karpov and Omanidze operated the flanks and Nikita Koger played behind the central forward Aleksei Belov.
As expected, the match started with Flora pushing up high in Kalev’s half trying to score as early as possible and move the bus parked in front of Savitski’s goal. Mainly, the attempts were going through the flanks and here it is worth mentioning the influence of Baranov who made a few very nice runs down the right side and sent a couple of curled balls into the box, but without any success. Daniil Savitski showed once again why he is the captain of this young team of Kalev Tallinn, managing to stop few excellent shots and intercepting a number of crosses from the home team. Their resistance, however, lasted only until the 28th minute when Luigend sent an excellent ball into space for Baranov whose mathematically precise ball in the box was intercepted by Alliku for 1-0. The deadlock was broken and sighs for everyone on Flora’s bench. In the 39th minute Martin Kase had his first serious attempt on goal, but Savitski responded with an excellent save. When everyone expected the referee to blow the half time whistle, what seemed to be a harmless attack by Flora turned out to be a goal. Irakli Logua received a ball at the edge of the box and tried to send a ball in. His pass was deflected by Välja enough to trick his goalkeeper and to double the lead of the home team. That marked the end of the first 45 minutes.
Very one-sided game and the away team barely passed the ball out of their own half. Coach Hurt probably won’t have much to tell to his players as the three points seemed all but sealed. Zamogilnõi, on the other hand, will have to think of a new approach if he wants a positive outcome from this game.
The second half started in a similar fashion as the first one. Flora attacked with all its power and already in the 47th minute the result was 3-0. The striker Martin Kase managed to score in his first start for the home team. In the 52nd minute he was on the verge of completing a brace only to be denied by Heintare who reacted well and took the ball away from the line. However, the defence of Kalev wasn’t so lucky 2 minutes later when Zakaria Beglarishvili continued his fine goalscoring form and with a nice low shot made it 4-0 for the title contenders. After that, coach Hurt decided to rest some of his best players, giving chance to Post and Sobtsenko instead of Alliku and Beglarishvili. A combination between the former ones almost extended the goal tally of the home team, but the post was Savitski’s ally in this case. As the match was approaching its end, Flora’s players decided to give their guests more space to play. The away team managed to take advantage of that and after a couple of missed chances, including one shot in the bar by Omanidze, finally in the 79th minute Belov scored a consolation goal for Kalev to make it 4-1. In the dying moments of the game, Logua again made a very nice run down the left flank, got rid of his defenders and shot on target. Savitski somehow managed to save it only to deflect the ball to the feet of Post who didn’t mind putting his name on the scoresheet and to make it 5-1 for the hosts. Soon after that, the main referee Kristo Külljastinen marked the end of the game.
Flora continued their unbeaten run and their quest for the title, while Kalev continued their goal-conceding show and their struggle to finish the season in a position that will leave them in the top flight next year again.