Unbelievable hot temperature in Sportland Arena for the last fixture of May (Matchday 14) seeing FC Infonet receiving FC Flora.
A so-to-say away game for the white-greens as Sportland Arena lies just besides the ‘A.LeCoq Arena’ bigger stadium, home of Flora, probably the shortest trip you can take in the country to play an away game.
The final result was a rather faithful picture of the game with Flora dominating in first half and FC Infonet trying to come back in second half and managing to do it at a certain extent. Prosa’s late goal was a prize to Flora’s ability in believing in it until the last second and Gussev’s screamer probably the right acknowledgement to the increased pressure in the last fifteen minutes. However, Norbert Hurt, once put aside the joy for the incredible comeback, he cannot be too much glad for the renunciatory attitude shown in second half. He was awarded for sending in both Gussev and Kase to try and turn the game on its head. Mission accomplished.
FC Infonet can only blame themselves for having squandered a chance to beat Flora for the third time. However, considering the generous penalty assigned by Tarajev, it would have been an excessive award to their lack of composure and effectiveness in the final 25 meters. Contrary to what we are used to see, Infonet resorted mostly to long balls and some attempts from distance. If the motto of the sponsoring company is ‘quality is our goal’, the former was not seen much in warm Tallinn evening.
No surprises from the coaches as both Hurt and Puśtov did not resort to any substantial rotation and used their best men at the moment. Home team in typical 4-2-3-1 formation with all the usual starts in, including Kassim Aidara behind Manucho and Semakhin, one card away from suspension, on the right flank.
Hurt gave another start to Post up front entrusting right flank to Albert Prosa in a specular 4-2-3-1. Junolainen was confirmed as left full-back after the overall positive performance against Levadia. Karol Mets was still playing with a protective mask for his nose.
Ready, steady go, the first chance is immediately for the visitors.
On two minutes, Logua tried twice the acrobatic solution. First he missed the ball, on the second attempt a ricochet changes direction to the ball giving more angle. Igonen displayed his best act as save into corner. It was Flora’s and game’s first corner kick. On the developments, a shot from distance by Luigend was caught safely by Igonen.
FC Infonet did not risk anything in the first fifteen minutes of the game as they were keen in letting Flora lead the dance giving up to ball possession but exerting an asphyxiating pressure as soon as Flora crossed the midfield line. Sander Post was called to do a lot of dirty work as he often dropped back to participate into the build-up. Begla entered immediately into the role of bringing danger between the lines ranging from left to right and trying to accelerate vertically as soon as possible.
It was indeed a great combination between the tall man from Viljandi and the Georgian pint-sized trequartista that led Flora to the opener. Begla won a ball in his half against Manucho. He ran quickly towards Infonet half and exchanged quickly with Post who, meanwhile, opened the space in the middle and move to the right. The captain reached the bottom line and put a low ball for Beglarishivili on the first post. The Georgian nr.7 was quick in reaching the ball before Elhi and anticipate Igonen movement. The Infonet goalkeeper could only fall on his knees powerless.
This happened on 13’ minutes. Infonet reaction was immediate as Infonet tried to build from the right flank with Lipin. A cross in the box did not find Manucho header for a metter for centimeters.
Three minutes later Kalimullin tried a shot from distance while Infonet was pressuring high. His attempt was off target past Prins’ right post.
Confident with the lead, Flora went on with their ‘tiki-taka’ up to three-quarters of the pitch.
Kalimullin’s attempt was just an anticipation of Lipin’s unlucky attempt on 23’ minutes when he hit the bar after his shot was deflected. Good build-up work by Kassim Aidara who freed himself from Junolainen at the edge of the box and then served Infonet young talent positioned in the box.
On 26’ minutes Flora tried also an attempt from distance.
Begla won a ball against Elhi and on his run towards the box, he served Logua in the middle. The Russian nr.8 aimed at Igonen but the output was poor as the shot was weak and off-target and Infonet nr.1 could safely watch the ball dying over the touchline.
On 31’ it was Valov turn to give some headache to Flora’s backline.
However, Baranov and Rähn managed to recover at the very last moment before the Russian nr.17 would run on a one on one against Prins.
A typical situation when Flora defence managed to get out of a dangerous situation they have put themselves in.
However, this was nothing compared to the chance he had on 34’ minutes when Elhi sent a cross from three-quarters. Flora defence was still, however Valov did not expect the ball on his feet and the control of the ball made it end in Prins’ hands. Valov could be relieved by the first assistant flag rosen: offside.
As first half entered into the dying minutes, FC Infonet reduced the workrate to prepare to the second half and left possession to Flora.
Before re-entering the changing rooms there was time for Avilov to collect his 4th yellow card this season, meaning he will miss the next game against Paide in central Estonia (41’). Fair booking as he pulled down Frolov who was already past him running towards the box. On the free-kick take, Sander Post curled the ball towards Igonen’s left post. The Infonet talent confirmed he’s back into form outstretching himself to avoid the 0-2.
It was the very last emotion of first half which saw Flora legitimating the lead with a convincing performance. They tried to play a simple football with quick one-twos and holding the ball only when it was really necessary. For the remainder, they exploited their quick men skills (Logua, Begla and Prosa). Post dirty work was commendable.
On the resume Infonet immediately showed they wanted to be back in the game as Valov had a go at Prins’ goal after another good build-yp by Aidara, however the attempt was completely off-target.
Soon after Aidara entered the match director notepad as Roomer Tarajev sanctioned a late challenge on Rähn who was first on the ball.
Norbert Hurt brought Alliku in for Logua, moving Prosa on the left, same move as few days ago against Levadia.
On 6’ minutes Kalimullin sent a long ball to Manucho.
Contrary to a previous frame, the Ivorian was onside however he could not control the ball adequately and bring danger to Prins’ goal.
Better fortune had the header one minute later as it went past the first post for a matter of centimetres. Elhi had put a perfect cross in the box for the Ivorian to turn it towards Prins’ goal.
With the corridor busy, Infonet were keen in trying to find a way on the flanks as also Lipin on 13’ minutes managed to push the ball in the box for Manucho to reach it in the air. Once again an off-target attempt for the Ivorian.
On 14’ minutes Puśtov resorted to his first change as he pulled out Aidar to field the nr.9 Evgeni Harin. No changes to positions and formation though. Aidara was not the worst of his side and actually showed comfortable signs of improvement.
Same goes for Lipin, remarkably better with some interesting balls sent in the box. However Puśtov opted to give a shake to his side by sending Marten Saarlas in his place and position (18’)
One minute later Luigend picked out a pass for Alliku in the box.
The ‘Curly Devil’ missed the stop and Igonen could collect the ball with his hands, glad the danger was avoided by the nr.9 inaccuracy.
However, Flora’s first emotion of second half was on 24’ when Alliku sent in a ball for Prosa. The nr.99 was left free to stop and control on the second post. Prosa shot at Igonen who readily parried. The ball got back into play for Post to hit with his head. He had really to take a lift in the air to reach the ball as he could not impress power to his header and the ball simply hit against the bar among the general amazement for the squandered chance. It was the second woodwork of the game.
A third one was hit by Tanel Mets four minutes later when he tried the ballistic solution from approximately 25 meters. Prins would have never reached that.
With the score to recover, Puśtov abandoned prudence and commanded his side to go 4-2-4 when in possession with Saarlas, Martõnov, Manucho and Harin pushed against the Flora defence line.
On 33’ minutes, Baranov was booked for a challenge from behind. On the set-piece, a long ball sent in the box was controlled eventually by Avilov who stopped and shot with power towards the far Post.
Prins could do nothing as Infonet pulled level (34’, 1-1).
Two minutes later, the (apparent) turn of the game.
Saarlas pushed on the right and served Manucho in the box. The Ivorian feigned to go straight and instead changed direction. Apparently Rähn held the African striker for too long as he fell on the floor for Tarajev to assign a penalty to Infonet. Manucho’s fall was rather theatrical, certainly something to replay with our moviola. The same Ivorian hit from 11 meters and beat Prins.
One minute later, Alliku was running towards the box, however his fall was judged as a dive by Tarajev who added his name to Rähn and Baranov for Flora. Another case to watch with the moviola lens.
The game entered into the most emotional part as also Semakhin was booked for pulling down Gussev. He will also miss the next games. Emotions grew also among the Flora fans pushing against the net protecting the audience. A couple of stewards rushed to control the situation would not go off hand.
Gussev had a good go at Igonen on 41’ minutes, however his shot was not curled enough and was basically too slow allowing Igonen to read well and catch the ball. Just an appetizer of injury-time feat.
At this stage Flora pushed Infonet in their half with Manucho helping in defence to form a block that would not allow Flora men to move between the lines.
After a series of unproductive assaults, finally the top-scorer of the Premium Liiga, Albert Prosa, found the bottom of the net after receiving a good ball into the box. FC Infonet defence was guilty to leave him alone to control and shoot. It was already on 90’ minutes and the fourth official had already shown four minutes of injury time
They were enough for Gussev to pull out what could probably be the best goal of Matchday 4. Flora’s nr.20 had already and remarkably given troubles to Semakhin since he entered the field.
On the last minute of inury time, ha managed to pull out a real curled drive that beat Igonen and made the Flora fans explode with joy this time.
An incredible feat that helped Flora collecting three unhoped-for points and get one point closer to Kalju losing in Kadriorg to Levadia.